03/20/2013 04:31 EDT | Updated 05/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Visitor restrictions at Cape Breton hospital after patients fall ill

SYDNEY MINES, N.S. - Visitor restrictions are in place at a Nova Scotia hospital after a gastrointestinal illness made several patients sick.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority says the restrictions affect the 28-bed veterans unit at Harbourview Hospital in Sydney Mines.

Under the restrictions, only two visitors over the age of 12 will be permitted to see patients at a time.

The visitors must be immediate family or next of kin and should not be sick or live with others who are sick.

They will also be expected to wash their hands before and after their visit, and must follow any infection prevention measures in place at the hospital.

The health authority says the situation will be assessed daily, but all social gatherings have been cancelled in the meantime.