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Four deaths linked to flu sweeping through B.C. Interior care facilities

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Four deaths linked to flu sweeping through B.C. Interior care facilities – Jan 3, 2018

Four deaths “directly attributed to the outbreak” of influenza at care facilities within the Interior health region have been reported so far this flu season.

In the 2016/17 flu season, 37 seniors died in Interior Health Authority (IHA) care facilities where influenza outbreaks were declared.

“This year when compared to last year the increase in the numbers began slightly earlier, I would say one or two weeks earlier than last year,” said IHA medical health officer Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi.

The IHA said it is experiencing a rise in contagious illnesses and 11 residential care facilities have declared a flu outbreak.

READ MORE: Flu outbreak hits five Okanagan care homes

They include Westview Place and Haven Hill Care Centre in Penticton, McKinney Place in Oliver, David Lloyd Jones in Kelowna, and Gateby and Down’s Residence in Vernon.

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Those that haven’t experienced outbreaks this season—like the Village by the Station residential care facility in Penticton—are taking measures to thwart off the flu bug.

Site manager Kimberly Pereira said the facility offers early immunizations, conducts hand hygiene audits and enhances cleaning practices.

She said a flu outbreak is very impactful on its residents as social activities are limited.

The Village residents Karen and Frank Hallam have been married for almost 38 years.

READ MORE: Flu outbreaks hit Okanagan care facilities

Karen lives in the complex care unit and Frank in assisted living.

That means when there is a flu outbreak – like last season – they are confined to their units and can’t see each other.

It’s hard on both of them.

“Frank, he comes up to my area and he has lunch and dinner with us,” Karen Hallam said Wednesday.

“I can go outside and talk to her through the window,” her husband added.

Joan Morgenstern, 81, was hospitalized after she contracted the flu four years ago.

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She takes every precaution to stay healthy.

“I just want to protect myself as much as possible,” she said.

Guests are asked to limit visitation during an outbreak, wash their hands and wear a mask if they’re not immunized.

WATCH: Numerous care facilities in the Okanagan dealing with flu outbreaks 

 

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