Corporate Information

Countess of Chester and Ellesmere Port hospitals resume normal visiting following successful flu prevention measures


The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is lifting temporary visiting restrictions at both the Countess of Chester and Ellesmere Port hospitals with immediate effect following a drop in flu cases in the local community.

The difficult but necessary decision to pause visitation was prompted by a significant and rapid increase in patients attending the Emergency Department (A&E) and testing positive for influenza. This suggested that the virus was widespread in the community too and could unwittingly be spread to the most vulnerable patients.

Earlier this month the number of patients with flu who were seeking emergency care at the Trust’s Emergency Department (A&E) had doubled, necessitating immediate action to prevent the virus from spreading between patients.

Thanks to the proactive step to pause visiting, the number of influenza cases among A&E patients have since dropped significantly and to a level that is acceptable for visiting to resume.

Whilst visiting has restarted, the Trust remains cautious about the potential for flu transmission in patients and will continue to monitor this risk. There remains patients in hospital with flu at this time and other seasonal illnesses are also circulating. Mask wearing zones are currently designated in areas where patients with influenza are being nursed.

Sue Pemberton, Director of Nursing and Quality and Assistant Chief Executive Officer at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"Normal visiting has now resumed at our hospitals because we have seen the number of cases of flu drop over the past week.

“Our priority has been to keep our patients as safe as we can from catching the flu virus while in our hospitals but we will continue to review the situation as winter continues.

“We know it has been very difficult for relatives to be apart from their loved ones and are grateful for their patience and understanding.  We will continue to monitor rates of respiratory infection and should a resurgence occur, we may consider suspending visiting if necessary. This is a difficult decision to take but we must continue to protect our patients.

“Flu is still circulating in the local community, and so it is really important that you do not visit a patient in hospital if you are feeling unwell, especially if you have symptoms of flu or COVID-19.”