Nfld. & Labrador

Visitation restricted at 2 institutions due to influenza

Two health care centres in Newfoundland have implemented visitor restrictions, as the number of cases of influenza increases.
Dr. David Allison is urging people to follow the three C's - clean, cover and contain. (CBC)

Two health care centres in Newfoundland have implemented visitor restrictions, as the number of cases of influenza increases.

All inpatient units at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre in Gander are under limited visitation, so only one member of the patient's immediate family can visit at a time.

Children under the age of 14 are unable to visit while the hospital takes extra precautions.

Shortly after those restrictions were announced Tuesday afternoon, Eastern Health said it would place limitations on visitors at Agnes Pratt Nursing Home in St. John's.

Only one family member can visit patients in inpatient units of the hospital in Gander at one time. (CBC )
Dr. David Allison, medical officer of health for Eastern Health and Western Health, said this year's strain of flu is tricky to treat, and is spreading fast across the province.

Allison said H3N2 is causing problems because it differs from the flu vaccine itself.

"Probably many people who've been immunized are still getting sick, although the vaccine may have kept the most serious disease away," Allison said.

He told CBC News people travelling back and forth to Alberta for work are contributing to the spread of the virus, which has been happening faster and earlier than expected.

Meanwhile, British Columbia's department of health has reported flu cases hitting 10-year highs.

In addition to that, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had declared this year's strain an official epidemic that has already killed 15 children.

Eastern Health is asking the public "not to visit any health care facility if they feel ill or are experiencing flu-like or gastrointestinal symptoms."

The health authority said it would provide an update once the restrictions are lifted. 

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