Hospital staff at Saskatoon's St. Paul's Hospital are fighting an outbreak of a Norwalk-like illness and have closed off part of the building.

Six  new cases were found Saturday, bringing the total number of people infected to 21, said Jean Morrison, president and CEO at St. Paul’s Hospital.

The fifth floor medical and surgical wards have been closed to visitors and new patients, as an effort to stop the illness from spreading.

"Those units usually have about 33 patients," she said. "I’m not sure how many beds are filled right now but we’re not filling beds as people are discharged so by early to mid-week we’ll be down to a number of fewer patients in those units."

Even though doctors are treating patients like they would the Norwalk virus, Morrison said the hospital will be able to confirm if it is a Norwalk outbreak on Monday.

During an outbreak any staff that has worked on the infected unit wouldn't be able to work on any other unit for 48 hours after being on that ward, she said.

Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, and people are typically sick for two to three days.

"Norovirus spreads very easily," said Morrison. "It’s a gastrointestinal illness so if people touch the door knobs and then they wipe of their lips or put their hand to their eye, you move it very easily. So that’s why it is so common in the community."

The hospital will not open the units until 48 hours after the last symptom, said Morrison, which will be Wednesday or Thursday of next week at the earliest.