KAMLOOPS – The outbreak of a gastrointestinal disorder at Kamloops health facilities is booming.
Interior Health says that four separate facilities in Kamloops are reporting outbreaks.
In addition to the Royal Inland Hospital and the Hillside Psychiatric Center – which were identified yesterday – the Pinegrove Lodge and the Berwick on the Park are also reporting outbreaks.
Interior Health spokeswoman Susan Duncan said a fourth RIH ward was also hit, which means the disease is affecting 4-North, 5-South, 5-North and 7-North units.
A total of 31 patients and 26 staff had symptoms between the RIH and Hillside.
Duncan says IH believes the highly contagious bug is norovirus.
"The specimens were tested by the BCC's Disease Control Center, and those who returned tested positive for norovirus, which is a particularly virulent stomach disease," Duncan said.
After 13 surgeries were postponed Thursday, seven other procedures were laundered on Friday.
Duncan says they are being canceled to ensure that RIH has the ability to admit emergency patients if needed.
As for the four medical wards affected at the hospital, Duncan says they are not under quarantine, but patient movement is limited.
"Patients in the wards that are waiting for long-term care or medical care will not be transferred until the outbreak ends," Duncan said. "People can visit people on these wings, but we suggest they might want to delay this visit, and there is a sign at the entrance indicating there is an outbreak."
Cleaning efforts have intensified at the affected facility, and Duncan says it will continue as the virus continues its course.
"People infected with noroviruses generally improve in a few days, so we will continue with improved cleaning service, focusing on patient rooms, restrooms and frequently touched areas. Employees will continue to wear aprons, gloves and face protection while working with the patients, "Duncan said.
"We really want people to practice good hand hygiene: washing with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer," she added. "And, for Christ's sake, stay home if you have these symptoms and do not go out again until about 48 hours after the last symptom."