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Derry nursing home put under quarantine after norovirus bug spreads

By Donna Deeney

A nursing home in Londonderry is the latest facility to close its doors as a result of the north west's worst outbreak of norovirus in more than 30 years.

Ten elderly residents and a number of staff at the Brooklands Nursing Home in the city centre have succumbed to the winter vomiting bug and as a result it is shut to new admissions and visitors.

Meanwhile, two wards at Altnagelvin Hospital and one at Waterside Hospital remained closed yesterday because of the virus.

Brooklands director Therese Conway said a planned Christmas celebration had been postponed as a result of the outbreak.

She said: "This is normally a happy time for our residents so it is disappointing that they aren't getting to enjoy the entertainment we would normally have at this time.

"We have even had to cancel our Christmas party, but hopefully we can reconvene all the entertainment after Christmas once the novovirus has been cleared.

"We are a 40-bed care home and we have a large percentage of our residents affected by the virus along with a small number of staff, but thankfully we have had no new cases over the past 24 hours being diagnosed.

"We have closed our doors to new admissions and the public until we are totally clear."

Altnagelvin medical director Dermot Hughes said every effort was being made to see people with 'red flag' appointments, including those with cancer.

Mr Hughes said: "We are still concerned because of the high level of novovirus with the community and all measures to deal with the virus remain in place.

"The main issue is not simply novovirus, which for most people is an unpleasant, self-limiting illness, but it is making sure acutely ill patients can access care within our hospitals, and to do that we need our acute medical beds open.

"We also need the step down facilities at the Waterside Hospital and we are currently undergoing a process to maximise our resources to the greatest potential."

Before any of the affected wards in Derry can be reopened there must be no new cases of novovirus diagnosed for at least 72 hours.

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