A GASTRO virus has infected the doctor at Casino Hospital's emergency department, leaving the ward without a doctor for at least two days.
Visitors to the hospital have also been restricted.
Acting executive director of the Richmond Clarence Health Service Group, Dan Madden, yesterday confirmed a number of patients and staff at the Casino and District Memorial Hospital had been affected by gastroenteritis.
"Three staff and three patients have active symptoms of gastroenteritis," he said.
"The three patients are being isolated, while the three staff have taken sick leave.
"This increase in gastroenteritis at the hospital has affected the doctor in the emergency department who will be off duty for at least 48 hours.
"During this period there will be no doctor in the emergency department between 8am and 6pm.
"However the general practitioners and visiting medical officers have agreed to provide some coverage."
He also said a decision had been made to restrict visitors to the hospital, in accordance with NSW Health Gastro Control Guidelines.
Visitors will be allowed again once the gastro outbreak is "under control".
The gastro virus outbreak has also affected nursing homes in Casino.
Last week The Northern Star reported that a number of patients and staff at both The Cedars nursing home and St Michael's Home for the Aged had been infected.
The North Coast Public Health Unit said gastroenteritis was highly infectious and usually spread through direct contact with an infected person.
AVOID THE GASTRO VIRUS
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for 10 seconds before handling and eating food.
Always wash your hands after using the toilet.
Symptoms include vomiting and watery diarrhoea, nausea, fever, abdominal pain and headaches.
If you get sick, stay at home and do not go to work. Drink plenty of clear fluids. The symptoms should clear after one to two days.
Do think we need more doctors on the Northern Rivers?
This poll ended on 23 January 2013.
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