Flu season is nearing its peak. Expect to be asked to wear a mask inside health facilities if you haven't been vaccinated.

Flu season is nearing its peak. Expect to be asked to wear a mask inside health facilities if you haven't been vaccinated.

Active flu outbreaks hit three Penticton care homes

Interior Health official says numbers typical for this time of year, which is the peak of flu season

Active flu outbreaks were underway at three residential-care facilities in Penticton this week during what is the most prolific time of year for the illness.

“Typically for the Influenza A strain in B.C. over the last 20 years, the peak often occurs between Christmas and New Year’s, so that seems to be what’s happening,” said Dr. Rob Parker, a medical health officer for Interior Health.

Outbreaks are declared when there are two or more lab-confirmed cases of an illness at a facility, which can prompt a range of precautions such as quarantines, restriction of movements, cancellation of group events, and anti-viral medication for healthy residents, he explained.

“That usually ends new cases from occurring within a couple days,” said Parker.

The active outbreaks were declared in Penticton at Trinity Care Centre on Dec. 19, Village by the Station on Dec. 21, and Westview Place on Dec. 22, and were all still in place as of Tuesday.

Two residential-care homes in Vernon were the only other such facilities within the Interior Health region with declared flu outbreaks as of Tuesday.

Parker said the numbers are typical for this time of year.

In all, there were 10 active flu outbreaks in care facilities throughout Interior Health as of Tuesday. That’s compared to eight in December 2013 and 11 in December 2012.

The current most virulent flu strain is AH3N2, which Parker said tends to affect seniors, for whom it can be fatal if they have underlying health conditions.

“Often, it’s a contributory cause (of death) for an already frail senior,” he said.

Making matters worse, that flu strain isn’t a component of this season’s vaccine, which went into production in the spring.

“It’s a slightly different strain that was only starting to be seen in late March a little bit, and that seems to be the one that’s come to the fore,” said Parker.

Still, the doctor encouraged people who haven’t already done so to get a flu shot, particularly those at risk, such as seniors and people with chronic health conditions.

Tara Kamann, a pharmacist and part-owner at Riverside Pharmasave in Penticton, said her store has plenty of vaccine available, but the demand for shots has tapered off.

“We’re still doing a few of them, but most people have been vaccinated at this point,” she said.

Symptoms of flu include sore throat, high fever and muscle aches. People with such symptoms who are otherwise healthy should stay home from work or school for five days, said Parker, while those with underlying conditions should consider paying a visit to their doctor.

More information on flu clinics can be found online at www.immunizebc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read