Officials with Island Health have confirmed flu outbreaks of Influenza A and B in long-term care facilities stretching from Victoria to Parksville. They also report confirmed cases of the flu in laboratory tests across Vancouver Island.
This is bad news for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems as influenza (the flu) is among the leading causes of death, according to Health Canada, causing more than 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.
According to the active outbreak list, three locations in Nanaimo are dealing with flu outbreaks and two have enacted outbreak restrictions or precautions for the entire facility. A complete list can be viewed on the Vancouver Island Health Authority website.
- Dufferin Place, Nanaimo
- Eden Gardens, Nanaimo
- Origin at Longwood, Nanaimo
- Nanaimo Regional General Hospital
- Trillium Lodge, Parksville
- Glengarry Hospital, Victoria
- Sunrise of Victoria, Victoria
- Oak Bay Lodge, Victoria
Island Health asks those who are ill to not visit hospitals, residential care or assisted living facilities as the flu virus spreads through breathing, coughing and sneezing. Those visiting hospitals or healthcare facilities who are not vaccinated must wear a mask in patient care areas to protect their loved ones and staff. Island Health encourages visitors to look for masks near main entrances, hand washing stations or at the reception and admitting areas.
“During the flu season, demand on emergency rooms and hospitals increases,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health Medical Health Officer. “Do not use emergency services for health care needs that can be met by your physician or at walk-in clinics.”
Flu symptoms include fever, headache and fatigue, and are more prolonged than a cold or stomach virus, the latter of which also includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Island Health encourages residents to take steps to protect yourself and others from the flu and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands frequently after touching people or surfaces. Use soap and water and/or alcohol-based sanitizers
- Stay home when you’re sick or have flu symptoms. Keep children home from school when they are ill
- Cough or sneeze into your upper arm or use a tissue, not your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- And it’s not too late to get a flu shot
Vaccines are provided free of charge to people who are at high risk of serious illness from the flu (such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions), those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk, and people who provide essential community services.