Interior Health waiting to declare norovirus outbreak over in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health waiting to declare norovirus outbreak over in Kamloops

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
February 05, 2019 - 4:22 PM

KAMLOOPS — Interior Health officials are hoping to declare a stomach virus outbreak that impacted four units at Royal Inland Hospital over by tomorrow.

Susan Duncan, a spokesperson with Interior Health, says the first recorded case for this year’s Norovirus outbreak at the hospital was Jan. 27 and it seems to be wrapping up. It’s not unusual to have illness outbreaks in the community, especially in the winter, she says.

“People get sick and they come to the hospital either as patients or visitors and then illness spreads,” she says.

Gastrointestinal illnesses can occur at any time of the year but are more common around this time of the year, says Duncan.

“The virus is in the vomit and feces and people can become ill even from tiny droplets in the air, by touching a contaminated surface and unknowingly putting their finger in their mouth or they can make other people sick if they prepare food for them,” she says.

The virus can live on hard surfaces for weeks and on contaminated fabrics, the virus can live up to 12 days.

“It also can remain in the stool for about two weeks after the symptoms are gone so vigilant hand washing is essential,” she says.

About 36 patients and 27 staff members were affected with the virus during this outbreak, Duncan says.

“We are currently in the waiting period to see if any new patients or staff show symptoms,” she says. “We wait about 96 hours after the last reported illnesses to call an outbreak over.”

Hillside Psychiatric Centre which was also affected by the outbreak was officially cleared last Friday, Feb. 1.

When the outbreak is over at the hospital, normal operations on the four wards that were impacted will resume with patients being admitted and discharged as usual.

“It was unusual to see a number of wards affected,” Duncan says. “In the past, it’s been one or two, it was an unfortunate thing that happened.”

For more on Norovirus go here. 

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