Interior Health (IH) says none of the hospitals or long-term care facilities named in their (March 19) list of Active Facility Outbreaks have the COVID-19 virus.
The nine include three in Penticton; The Hamlets at Penticton, Westview Place and Trinity Care Centre, as well as the Summerland Seniors Village.
The others are in Castlegar, Kamloops (2) Trail and Vernon.
“IH can clarify that current outbreaks at IH long-term care homes are caused by a number of different seasonal respiratory viruses including influenza, RSV and metapneumovirus,” reads the IH news release.
“This is typical for influenza season. None of our outbreaks are connected to COVID, but COVID-19 testing is included in all testing done for respiratory illness in long-term care facilities.”
The Provincial Health Authority earlier in the week announced restrictions for all regional health authorities in the province to implement an essential visitors only policy for long-term care facilities.
Essential visits include compassionate visits for end-of-life care and visits that support care plans for residents based on resident and family needs, such as families who routinely visit to provide assistance with feeding or mobility.
As always, individuals who are sick or are feeling unwell should avoid visiting any care home.
An Active Facility Outbreak is declared when two or more cases of Respiratory Infection (RI) occur in a unit or floor within a seven-day period among residents and/or staff. Workers at the facility are asked to watch for two or more people with a cough or fever which could be an indication of RI.
The outbreaks are divided into three categories; Scenario A, B and C with A being the more serious, known or suspected to be influenza.
Scenario B is due to non-influenza or bacterial cause and C is due to non-influenza viral pathogens, better known as the “common cold.”
It’s recommended that for Scenario A, patients and non-immunized staff receive anti-viral and prophylaxis treatment.
Currently, The Hamlets is the only one with a Scenario A listing. The other four locally are classified as Scenario B.
The Hamlets has implemented tougher-than-required measures, with the doors shut to all but family members with residents in palliative care.
During the designated outbreak period each facility must make a daily report to the IH Communicable Disease Unit.
Staff with RI illness (other than COVID-19) are required to be excluded from work for the duration of the acute symptoms or five days, whichever is longer.
In Scenario A an outbreak is declared over after eight days of no new resident cases and four days after last staff case worked.
For Scenario B it is declared over after two incubation period have passed (four to 14 days) with no new cases.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been making announcements of which specific facilities have COVID-19 cases during her daily reports to the public.