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October 27, 2017 7:30 pm

UHNBC Still Battling GI Outbreak

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 @ 6:57 AM

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.


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