The new urgent primary care clinic will be on the ground floor of Royal Inland Hospital along Columbia Street. Photograph By DAVE EAGLES/KTW

50 patients, staff sick after gastrointestinal illness outbreak at B.C. hospital

The first reported symptom of the gastrointestinal outbreak was on Jan. 25 at Royal Inland Hospital

  • Jan. 30, 2019 3:00 p.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

A gastrointestinal outbreak has led staff at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops to stop admitting patients to three units in the building.

Interior Health said there is a gastrointestinal outbreak has affected 16 patients and 11 staff members as of Tuesday. In addition, an outbreak has been declared at the adjacent Hillside Psychiatric Centre, with seven patients and 13 staff members showing symptoms.

In accordance with an outbreak response management plan, Interior Health said the hospital is not admitting patients to 4North, 5South and 7North — the medical units experiencing the outbreak. Patients on those wards who are waiting for admission to long-term care or assisted living facilities will not be transferred until the outbreak is over.

IH communications consultant Susan Duncan said the three units house adult patients with various medical ailments, but are not post-surgery units.

Hillside continues to admit patients, Duncan said, noting new arrivals are being taken to an unaffected pod in the centre.

READ MORE: Measles outbreak in Washington state spurs warning from BC Centre for Disease Control

She said the first reported symptom of the gastrointestinal outbreak was recorded on Jan. 25, noting an outbreak is declared when two or more patients are affected by the virus. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Duncan said specimens have been sent to the BC Centre for Disease Control to identify the virus responsible for the illness.

Duncan said the gastrointestinal outbreak is not unusual as the situation in the hospital mirrors what is happening in the community.

“We do encourage people to practise approripate hand hygiene,” Duncan said. “Washing your hands often is key to preventing the virus from spreading.

She said each unit is being treated individually, so the outbreak may be declared ended at staggered times. An outbreak typically lasts 96 hours, which involves two 48-hour incubation periods after the last case is reported.

Duncan said the health authority is stressing that precautions being taken may mean congestion in the emergency department. The public is advised that the wait to see a physician could be longer than normal.

People with non-emergent illnesses should contact their family doctor or a walk-in clinic. They may also stay home and rest or consult with a health-care provider by calling Healthlink BC at 811. However, anyone who feels they need emergency care should not hesitate to come to the hospital or call 911.

Interior Health said the outbreak has not yet caused surgical cancellations, but the situation is being monitored.

Visitors are being asked to stay home if they are feeling unwell. Healthy people are permitted to visit, but may want to postpone the visit until the outbreak is over. Signage at the entrance of the affected units advises that an outbreak is ongoing so people can take proper precautions.

Interior Health said enhanced housekeeping is in place to focus on patient rooms, bathrooms, frequently touched areas and common areas. Staff members on the units with the outbreak have been advised to wear gowns, gloves and facial protection when working with patients.

As always, staff, patients and visitors are urged to wash their hands frequently.

Christopher Foulds, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Fitness and health programming drew more than 12,000 participants in Saanich

New report also finds a gender split in programming

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Most Read