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Norovirus outbreak in B.C.

Written by: Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
Jan. 3, 2013

A norovirus outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital has infected 18 people. Fraser Health expects admissions to two medical units at the New Westminster hospital to be closed until at least Friday. (file photo)


VANCOUVER - Parts of Royal Columbian Hospital and a ward and care facility at Vancouver General Hospital have been closed after patients were infected with norovirus.

RCH has been closed to new admissions since Friday after 18 people were infected.

Fraser Health Authority spokeswoman Tasleem Juma said two medicine units were affected and would be shut for at least two more days unless there are new infections.

“It’s not a lockdown. It’s not quarantine. It’s an infection control measure we do,” she said. “Visitors can come. All we ask is if you’re visiting … before you go in use the (sanitizing) hand gel and before you come out, use the hand gel.”

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VGH has contained infected patients in a ward on the seventh floor, and closed all three floors of Banfield Pavilion, a residential care facility on the VGH campus.

The RCH units affected are referred to as Six North and Six South. Other parts of the hospital are operating as normal.

In total, 12 patients and six staff have been infected. Norovirus is a stomach flu that can result in vomiting and diarrhea.

“In most cases, it lasts 24 to 48 hours and people start getting better,” Juma said.

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