Cowichan District Hospital. File photo.

Cowichan District Hospital. File photo.

Island Health says an outbreak of norovirus has hit Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, the second facility the health authority has reported an outbreak in since the start of the new year.

Since Jan. 4, Island Health spokesperson Meribeth Burton says 10 patients have confirmed or suspected norovirus.

Burton says three staff members are away with norovirus-like symptoms.

On the Island Health outbreak list page, officials say the outbreak started Jan. 3 in the second-floor southwest wing.

A norovirus outbreak was reported Dec. 31 at the West Coast Hospital in Port Alberni, affecting the A and B wings of the Medical/Surgical Unit.

Island Health said Monday the outbreak affected eight patients and two staff members.

Norovirus is a common infection during winter months and symptoms of nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea and stomach cramps begin to show 12 to 48 hours after infection.

The illness can last up to 60 hours and although most people make a full recovery in one or two days, Island health says some people may require hospital treatment for dehydration.

Island Health says the virus is spread quickly and easily from person-to-person and visits to the impacted area at Cowichan District Hospital is limited to immediate family.

Burton says all visitors are being asked to wash hands well with soap and water, particularly after going to the bathroom and before eating food.

Island Health requires staff who have been ill to not report back to work until 48-hours after symptoms are gone.

Extra cleaning staff is in place at the hospital and terminal cleans have been implemented in the impacted areas.

CHEK