Interior Health is urging anyone who is sick or not feeling well to stay away from long-term care facilities until they feel better.
While similar calls are made annually at this time of year, the current advisory has taken on more urgency given that an number of outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness (GI) have recently spread through Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and other care facilities in that city.
According to IH, 31 patients and 26 staff have reported symptoms since Jan. 23.
While seven of the 10 current IH southern Interior locations where outbreaks have been declared are in Kamloops—five at RIH, two at long-term care facilities in that city and one at the Hillside Psychiatric Centre—outbreaks have also been declared at long-term care facilities in Kelowna, Vernon, Castlegar and Osoyoos.
The Kelowna outbreak was declared Jan 21 at Mission Creek Landing, formerly known as Sutherland Hills.
A full list of locations where outbreaks have been declared is available here.
All the outbreaks, with the exception of the one in Castlegar, are for gastrointestinal illness. The Castlegar outbreak is for respiratory illness.
IH officials say anyone not feeling well should should stay home as the spread of germs could be very dangerous for someone with a compromised immune system. Such illnesses, while uncomfortable for healthy individuals, are not generally considered dangerous.
The health authority is also reminding the public to regularly wash hands to help stop the spread of germs.
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