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Squamish General hit with gastrointestinal illness

Emergency services continue but patients face diversion

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Nobody is being admitted into Squamish General Hospital (SGH) due to the spread of illness within the regional health facility.

A memo sent to the hospital staff and doctors in the Sea to Sky corridor by Cindy Sellers, manager of acute care services in the Sea to Sky corridor, indicated that emergency services are still available at the hospital but pregnant women and other patients will face diversion to another health facility until the gastrointestinal illness (GI) at SGH is effectively dealt with.

“There will not be any admissions to Squamish General Hospital until further notice,” Sellers wrote in her memo.

Anyone who needs x-rays or laboratory services will have access to those services but anyone visiting the hospital for an x-ray or to give blood for testing won’t be allowed beyond the inpatient area.

According to information from the Provincial Infection Control Network of B.C., transmission of GI infections usually results from contact with infected people, food, water, or beverages. The illness can also be picked up through exposure to contaminated objects or surfaces. In extreme cases, outbreaks can lead to death.

Clive Camm of the VCH communications department said outbreaks like this are common at this time of year and they often take a few days to clear up. He noted that it is hard to predict when illnesses like this will be completely eliminated from a facility.

“There are certain protocols that have to be met and there’s a certain number of hours that have to pass without somebody suffering the impact of GI symptoms,” said Camm. “It will be a while.”

According to Camm, good hygiene is key to preventing the spread of the illness. “This is why we’re always talking about wash your hands, wash your hands,” Camm said. “That is the quickest way of stopping the spread of it.”

Camm also emphasized that emergency services are still available at SGH so anybody in need of emergency medical help can go to the SGH emergency entrance.

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