Squamish General Hospital has containment measures in place after 12 people were struck with the Norovirus.
On Thursday (Dec. 13), six patients and six hospital staff came down with flu-like symptoms. It was determined they had the virus commonly referred to as the winter vomiting bug. To stop its spread, the hospital put contamination measures in place, said Anna Marie D'Angelo, Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson.
“We are under outbreak protocol,” she said.
Until the 12 patients are all symptom-free for 48 hours, there will be no transfers or admissions to the hospital unless absolutely necessary, D'Angelo said. The emergency ward is open, but cases will be assessed upon entry, she said. Serious cases may be directed to Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver and in lesser medical instances, such as a headache, the patients may be sent home and called back to the hospital when it is deemed virus-free, D'Angelo said, adding hospital visits will also be kept to a minimum.
Sickness entering the hospital reflects what's going around town, she said.
Don't visit a hospital if you suspect you have a flu or fever and always wash one's hands, D'Angelo said.
“We are right into flu season,” she said.
Norovirus is highly contagious. It can be transferred through ingesting contaminated food and water or by person-to-person contact. People infected with Norovirus can spread it once they feel ill and for up to two days after the symptoms subside, but people can carry the virus for up to two weeks longer, Toronto Public Health officials said in a statement. There is no vaccine available in Canada to prevent the Norovirus infection, the Toronto health authority stated.
For more information on the virus visit www.vch.ca.