Northern Health recently dealt with an outbreak of influenza in the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. Hospital visitors were asked not to visit the third floor where quarantined patients suffering from the flu were kept. That outbreak was declared officially over last week, so there is no concern of it spreading east, to areas like Burns Lake and Prince George.
Northern Health still recommends people take standard precautions, like those mentioned by Dix and Henry.
“It is influenza season, and we do occasionally see outbreaks in our facilities. It kind of depends on what’s happening in the community,” said Eryn Collins, Northern Health spokesperson.
“That said we do know that this is flu season. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. And if we do have any outbreaks that require us to ask the public or patients to take any action to help us prevent the spread, then we will communicate that,” she said.
Minster of Health and Provincial Health Officer release joint statement to update concerned citizens
B.C. Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, recently issued a joint statement updating B.C. residents on the state of Coronavirus in the province.
In the statement from Feb. 11, Dix and Henry made recommendations for prevention of spread of the virus, but reassured citizens that the risk of it spreading at this point remains low.
“B.C. continues to have only four confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV. All four cases are in stable condition and are recovering in isolation at home. All close contacts of these cases are being followed closely by public health officials and remain asymptomatic,” they wrote.
“Now is the time for tolerance. We call on all British Columbians to come together as a community to help one another. In this time of uncertainty, this is not only the right response, but the necessary one,” they added.
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is still spearheading all policies and practices related to the virus, including testing high risk individuals, and preparing hospitals with backup plans in the event of an outbreak. Their website features an up to date total of all cases, both worldwide and in B.C.
As of Feb. 16, the BCCDC website showed that in BC, 715 samples had been tested from 491 individuals. Four of those individuals tested positive—three shared the same household, according to the statement by Dix and Henry.
Two Canadian repatriation flights have also happened, which was referenced in Dix and Henry’s statement. The second flight on Feb. 10 was allowed to refuel in Vancouver then sent to a Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont. where both passengers and crew will stay for 14 days while being monitored.
Dix and Henry ask that anyone who has recently visited the Hubei province of China (where the outbreak originally occurred), or has been in contact with anyone who has, report it to health officials and quarantine themselves for two weeks.
No special precautions need to be taken by the general public, according to the statement, but practicing the same care as for common winter flus and colds is recommended. This includes handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your clothing, avoiding sick people, and disposing of tissues properly.