The outbreak was declared on Friday afternoon after nine residents at the long-term care facility had shown symptoms of the illness over the past couple of days.
“With this being a long-term facility, these are people who are health-compromised, so it is something that we are concerned about,” P.A. Parkland Health Region communications officer Doug Dahl said. “That is one of the reasons why the individuals who are showing the symptoms have been isolated and we are restricting access to that unit.”
Signage has also been posted to inform staff and visitors of the outbreak. Health inspectors have sent samples to a provincial laboratory for testing, but do not yet have a result on what organism might be causing the illness.
While access to the unit has been restricted, visitors with urgent or compassionate reasons to enter the premises can report to the nursing station to receive instruction on how to limit exposure and the risk of infection.
The most recent similar outbreak occurred in late December and continued until early January.
We don’t usually declare an outbreak over until everybody has been symptom-free for a period of time. - Doug Dahl
“They happen occasionally within facilities,” Dahl said. “When you have a number of people in a facility like this, they have other health issues. It does mean that their immune system can sometimes be compromised and are at risk for something like this. We have infection control procedures and practices for all staff, but it does happen on occasion where a number of residents get ill about the same time.”
Visitors are reminded to perform proper hand hygiene before entering and upon leaving the unit. They are asked to visit one resident only and no other patients.
“If they themselves have been ill in the last couple of days, if they’re showing signs of respiratory illness or something else like that … it might be best to wait to do the visit until after they are healthy again,” Dahl said.
He estimated that the outbreak is likely to last for several days.
“We don’t usually declare an outbreak over until everybody has been symptom-free for a period of time.”