A worker in administration at Arrowsmith Lodge has confirmed with The News that the medical health officer has deemed Arrowsmith Lodge in an active outbreak.
According to Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (VIHA) outbreak list, Arrowsmith Lodge has tests pending for “gastrointestinal or Norovirus-like illness” as of Dec. 28.
Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis, an infection of the digestive tract (stomach and intestine), according to a HealthLink B.C. file. Norovirus outbreaks occur every year in B.C. communities, and are common in nursing homes, daycare centres, schools and children’s camps.
VIHA medical health officer Charmaine Enns said when there’s three of more people who live or work at a facility within a four-day period and they’re connected to each other, that’s when VIHA will investigate.
Enns said it was on Tuesday (Dec. 27) that the facility realized there could possibly be an outbreak, and the lab samples were sent out on Dec. 28.
The worker at Arrowsmith Lodge, who declined to give their name, said visitors are not allowed at this point. The worker said a “very limited number of residents have been affected” in the Parksville long-term care facility.
The residents who are affected, the worker said, are being kept safe in their rooms. The worker said they currently have two units affects, but declined to say where the units where located.
Enns said these are precautions taken to reduce transmission.
“(Employees) should only work on that unit, so there is no transmission from the affected to the non-affected area,” she said.
According to the outbreak list notes, it says there is “illness on Cottonwood/Dogwood and Arbutus/Birch.”
Arrowsmith Lodge has 75 units which is divided into five neighbourhoods called Arbutus Avenue, Birch Boulevard, Cottonwood Close, Dogwood Drive and Evergreen Place.
Adjacent to Arrowsmith Lodge is Cokely Manor, a 30-suite assisted living residence, which is not on the active outbreak list.
During influenza season at Arrowsmith Lodge, which is typically December to March, visitors are expected to wear a mask in the facility if they have not received a flu shot to help protect their residents from the flu.
The worker said they expect the active outbreak in Arrowsmith Lodge to be over soon.