FOUR wards had to be closed at Peterborough City Hospital after the outbreak of a winter vomiting bug.
Forty-three patients at the £289 million hospital in Bretton are known to have contracted the norovirus over the last week.
Three wards remain closed to new admissions and signs have been put up warning visitors not to enter the hospital if they have vomited or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.
Ward B7 reopened on Wednesday evening after a deep clean but wards A8, A9 and A10 cannot be cleaned until patients have not shown new symptoms of the virus for 48 hours.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “Once a ward has been cleaned, it can be assessed for reopening 72 hours after the last patient became symptomatic.
“This ensures the prevention of further people contracting the extremely contagious virus.
“It is expected that the wards currently closed will reopen early-mid next week if there are no further cases confirmed.
“It is difficult to say at this stage if all cases are confirmed or just symptomatic as patients are reviewed and tested if necessary.
“Until results are returned the cases are treated as symptomatic.”
Visiting is restricted on wards that are closed to new admissions. Relatives have been informed by telephone and can still visit between 6pm and 7pm each day.
Outbreaks such as this are factored into the hospital’s winter escalation plan. A hospital spokesman confirmed the recently reopened John Van Geest Ward at Stamford Hospital could be used if more wards in Peterborough were closed, but was not needed at the moment.
The Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, which runs the two facilities, is set to receive a multi-million pound government bailout to ease its financial difficulties.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley has pledged £1.5 billion over 25 years to help seven struggling hospital trusts.
One of those is Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, which has been in the financial difficulty since it moved into the Peterborough City Hospital site in November 2010. The trust is predicting a £35 million budget deficit by the end of March.
The extra cash is designed to help the trust handle repayments on the private finance initiative which paid for the hospital.