Island Health warns of norovirus, flu outbreaks at several facilities

Island Health warns of norovirus, flu outbreaks at several facilities
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Victoria General Hospital.

Island Health is warning of several active outbreaks declared this month at hospitals and long-term care facilities throughout Vancouver Island.

Five facilities are in Greater Victoria, including Victoria General Hospital, Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Mount Saint Mary Hospital, where norovirus outbreaks have been declared, according to the Island Health outbreak list.

Island Health says a gastrointestinal or norovirus-like illness has also been identified at both Amica Jubilee House and Lodge at Broadmead. However, tests are “still pending,” so the specific virus has not yet been disclosed on the list.

The health authority says influenza A outbreaks have also been declared at Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens) in Port Alberni and Eden Gardens in Nanaimo.

The outbreaks at Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Eden Gardens were identified in Extended Care unit one and Cypress North floor one, respectively, while the specific locations of the outbreaks at the other facilities are not included on the list.

An Island Health spokesperson told CHEK News that the sites without specific units/floors listed are not owned or operated by the health authority.

According to Health Canada, norovirus is a “very contagious virus” that causes diarrhea and vomiting. It says symptoms may start as soon as 12 hours after exposure, with most people feeling better within two to three days.

Health Canada says flu symptoms appear up to four days after exposure and may vary from person to person. While some people only get mildly ill, others get very sick, with symptoms including fever, cough, muscle aches and pain.

Island Health’s outbreak list is updated daily, Monday through Friday, excluding statutory holidays, and sees a facility removed when an outbreak is declared over.

“The list includes all hospitals or long-term care facilities within Island Health that either fall under the Hospital Act or are licensed under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act,” says Island Health on its website. 

The health authority posts more information here.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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