Key Points:

The rate of new infection of the contagious norovirus affecting Dunedin Hospital has slowed enough to allow wards to reopen today and elective surgery to resume next week.

Three patients and three staff have developed symptoms of the infection in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 20 new cases a day earlier in the week.

The number of patients being kept in isolation with the diarrhoea and vomiting bug has also dropped, to 15.

The norovirus has wreaked havoc on the hospital's ability to carry out day-to-day duties with more than 150 infections reported by the DHB since the start of the month.

"We are hoping to reopen all wards today once they are cleaned," said operations manager Megan Boivin.

"We are going to resume elective services on Monday, assuming the decline in presentations continues."

Visitor restrictions and barriers at entranceways would remain over the weekend, Mr Boivin said.

The standard visiting hours of 2- 8pm are also expected to resume next week.

Meanwhile two staff members at Grey Base Hospital were sent home yesterday amid growing fears norovirus may have spread from a local resthome and hospital. A specialist complained of feeling unwell and a nurse working with her was also sent home.

"There has been no confirmation norovirus is involved, but we are acting with a high degree of vigilance, in the best interests of all hospital patients and staff," West Coast District Health Board spokesman Bryan Jamieson said.

The Greymouth Star said today it understood the specialist had arrived in Greymouth earlier this week from Dunedin Hospital.

It was confirmed on Tuesday the virus was running rampant at the Kowhai Manor Resthome and hospital in Greymouth.

West Coast medical officer of health Dr Cheryl Brunton said today that Grey Base Hospital management had done everything it could to control the situation.

- NZPA