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Flu season underway with outbreaks in five Interior Health institutions

Warnings have been posted at several Okanagan care facilities regarding active outbreaks as flu season and other viruses take hold in the Thompson-Okanagan regions.
January 02, 2015 - 11:28 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The flu season is upon us and Interior Health is dealing with a number of its facilities in the Okanagan suffering from active outbreaks over the holidays.

Dr. Sue Pollock, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health, said what is currently being experienced in the Okanagan is “a fairly typical influenza season" so far.

"Normally we see activity increasing to a peak between now and February,” she said.

Pollock said not all respiratory outbreaks in the Okanagan are due to influenza, although flu outbreaks are being experienced in five Okanagan institutions.

Care homes are taking precautions through a number of avenues, Pollock said. Care home staff are encouraged to get flu vaccinations, while those who are ill are isolated from the general residence population as much as possible.

“We try to limit visits only to relatives during these outbreaks. Movement or transfers of residents is also restricted during these periods,” she said. “We also “cohort" staff by designating specific staff to look after those who are sick.”

Pollock added hand washing and environmental cleaning are also encouraged.

She said outbreaks tend to last a couple of weeks. They are considered over after an eight day period in which no new cases are reported from staff or residents.

Outbreaks are currently listed for one facility in Kelowna (Hawthorn Park Retirement Community’s Orchard Manor unit), which is presently suffering from an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness.

Three  facilities in Penticton are listed with respiratory infections, including Trinity Care Centre, Village by the Station, and Westview Place north. In Vernon, two facilities, including Village at Smith Creek’s Gellatly-Dobbin unit and The Gateby’s third floor are also suffering respiratory infections.

No Kamloops facilities are currently on the list.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

- This story was corrected at 12:12 Jan. 2, 2015 to include Dr. Sue Pollock's first name and to repair an incomplete quote.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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