The manager of the extended care facilities in Nakusp and New Denver has a simple request for the public visiting relatives this time of year.
“If you’re feeling ill, we tell people not to come in,” says Suzanne McCombs.
The manager of the Home Community Integrated Services says so far local care homes have dodged the influenza outbreak that’s plaguing more than a dozen care homes across the province, including ones in Golden, Vernon, and Kelowna.
“We keep very tight control,” she says. “if there is an outbreak, we ask people to wear a mask when visiting.”
McCombs says the facilities in New Denver and Nakusp, which house about 40 people, have largely avoided serious outbreaks in the past. That may be because of reduced exposure to vectors for transmitting the flu.
“We’re pretty good, our folks don’t move around a lot,” she says. “In bigger centres, you often have residents coming and going in and out of the homes.”
Every staff person and resident has also had their flu shot, and staff who feel ill are sent home – or if they have mild symptoms, are required to wear a mask, she says.
There are two types of outbreaks that are of the most concern, gastrointestinal infections and respiratory infections.
Visitors to sites with outbreaks are asked to postpone their visit to a later date. Sites with outbreaks also post written notices at the entrance and contact family members directly. Guests are encouraged to watch for these notices and delay their visit to a time that will be safer for their loved ones, themselves and the community as a whole.
Health officials are also encouraging people to get a flu shot if they haven’t already, as the flu season is just starting, and can last until April.