UHNBC Still Battling GI Outbreak
Prince George, B.C. – Although it’s been 4 days since Northern Health issued an advisory that the University Hospital of Northern B.C. was dealing with an outbreak of gastro intestinal illness, there are still no signs of the illness waning.“We still have staff and patients who are displaying symptoms of GI so we are still focusing on heightened control practices” says Northern Health spokesperson Andrea Palmer.
Gastro intestinal illness is common at this time of year, and spreads quickly in the community as family and friends do more visiting. The University Hospital of Northern B.C. is the only facility within Northern Health where an outbreak has been declared says Palmer “Generally speaking, a viral GI outbreak is three or more cases of probable GI symptoms, potentially related occurring within a 4 day period in a specific geographic area.”
She says the situation is changing day to day and within the day “As long as we these three or more cases going, we will continue to monitor and be extra careful with vulnerable patients as well as keeping staff safe and well.”
She says the nature of GI , is that for healthy people and this includes the staff at UHNBC, it will go through the population fairly quickly, “So what we’re doing is trying to protect vulnerable patients, for whom the virus may have a more serious impact.”
Those efforts include:
- enhanced environmental cleaning
- signage around the hospitals, which is located at every entrance and all areas, and patient rooms where appropriate,
- alerting staff and visitors that they should wash their hands before entering a room and to please report to the nursing station before visiting a patient.
Palmer says the message to the public remains, “If you are not feeling well, reconsider visiting a person in the hospital. We don’t want people to think they are not welcome at UHNBC, but we are asking people to really reconsider there visit if they are not well, or if they have had any symptoms in the last 48 hours.”
With folks heading back to work, this wave of GI is not likely to wrap up soon “If you’re not feeling well, you should stay home” says Palmer “And we’re not just saying this with respect to visiting UHNBC, it’s with respect to spreading symptoms within your workplace, or wherever it is you need to go. Whenever there’s these closed environments highly contagious illnesses like GI spread like wildfire so we’re really asking the public to maybe be aware if they are displaying any symptoms.”
People can always check with Healthlink.ca or 8-1-1 if they think they have symptoms of GI.