St. Peter’s Health is restricting visitation of patients at its regional medical center on Broadway Street throughout this weekend after a "significant" spike of norovirus both in Helena and at the hospital itself, according to a press release.
Any visitors exhibiting diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever and body aches are forbidden from visiting the hospital unless they are seeking care, said hospital spokeswoman Katie Gallagher.
The restrictions began at 11:45 a.m. Friday and will be re-evaluated at 8 a.m. Monday.
Gallagher added that no visitors will be allowed to visit patients on the hospital’s medical and surgical floor unless the patient they wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.
“We advise everyone with norovirus symptoms to stay home and hydrate as much as possible,” the release quoted chief medical officer Dr. Shelly Harkins. “If you have norovirus and are exhibiting signs of dehydration it is important to seek care.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which classifies norovirus as "very contagious," advises proper hand hygiene and food safety to avoid infection, including not preparing food for at least two days after symptoms cease.