Island Health is calling for the public not to visit hospitals, residential care or assisted-living facilities if ill, as it announced confirmed outbreaks of influenza A at long-term care facilities in the Parksville Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo areas last week.
Island Health’s active outbreak list has confirmed Trillium Lodge in Parksville has influenza B, a respiratory or influenza-like illness, as of Tuesday, Jan. 2. The influenza notification remained in effect Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 3.
As of Thursday afternoon (Jan. 4), there were restrictions applied to both Eastwood and Westwood units.
Island Health began running tests for Trillium on Dec. 28, 2017.
Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens, Dufferin Place and Origin at Longwood have also taken outbreak precautions with confirmed influenza A cases. Eden Gardens also has tests pending for gastrointestinal or norovirus-like illness.
The health authority also noted sporadic laboratory reports of people in communities throughout the Island with confirmed cases of the flu.
“During the flu season, demand on emergency rooms and hospitals increases,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer, in a written release. “Do not use emergency services for health care needs that can be met by your physician or at walk-in clinics.”
The press release also noted while the flu is a short-term inconvenience for healthy people, it is among the leading causes of death in Canada and asked that people don’t visit hospitals, residential care or assisted-living facilities if they’re ill.
To protect from the flu, people can take measures such as frequent hand washing, staying home when they are sick or have flu symptoms, avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Vaccines are available from a pharmacist or physician and can be found by visiting Immunize B.C.’s influenza clinic locator, or by calling HealthLink B.C. at 811.
— NEWS Staff