UPDATED: Influenza takes the lives of up to four Talarico Place residents in Castlegar

Long term care facility in Castlegar experiencing influenza outbreak.

An influenza outbreak is occurring at Talarico Place.

An outbreak of influenza that has been spreading throughout the community has made its way into Talarico Place, a 60 bed long-term care facility in Castlegar, where it has taken the lives of up to four residents. Three of those deaths have been confirmed as influenza related and the fourth is suspected to be influenza related.

Dr. Keith Merritt, who has been in Castlegar for 40 years, reports that it is the most complicated and aggressive outbreak in recent history. Merritt has retired from family practice and is now the medical director for both Talarico Place and Castleview Care Centre, which puts him in both administrative and patient care roles.

At Talarico Place, a respiratory illness outbreak was first noted on Dec. 18. By Dec. 26, numbers were increasing so swabs were taken from six affected residents to test for influenza. On Dec. 28, 26 out of the 59 residents were showing influenza-like symptoms.

A report on the swabs came back on Dec. 30, confirming five out of the six patients were positive for Influenza type A. This allowed medical professionals to put a definitive name to the cause of the outbreak. “This is unusual, most of the time people can not say this is for sure Influenza type A — five out of six, is a very positive [result],” explained Merritt.

Interior Health infectious disease experts, public health officers, and medical doctors then conferred and declared the site Scenario A — a designation which initiatives specific protocols in order to try and contain the illness. These include additional hygiene and cleanliness measures, no patient transfers in or out of the facility, wearing of masks, discouragement of visitors and the recommendation of antiviral medications as either treatment or prophylaxis.

The majority of residents have now received the antiviral medications.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the extra measures two residents succumbed to their illnesses last week and two more this week. One person was already frail and died from respiratory complications and the other had flu-like symptoms, fell and fractured her hip and never recovered, dying from complications related to the flu. “Two of the 26 people who were symptomatic have died — that is really significant. There is a mortality associated with this,” said Merritt on Friday, before the third and fourth deaths occurred.

There have not been any new cases since Dec. 30, and the outbreak was officially declared over on Tuesday.

There have been 17 facilities within Interior Health experiencing influenza outbreaks, including Poplar Ridge in Trail. Columbia View Lodge in Trail also reports influenza, but is not yet on Interior Health’s list of active facility outbreaks.

So far there has not been an outbreak at Castleview Care Centre, but Merritt is monitoring it closely every day. Health officials are discouraging anyone with cold or flu symptoms from visiting any care facilities.

As for prevention measures, Merritt explained that this year’s flu shot is useful. “The match for this particular influenza strain and the flu shot is pretty good this year,” he said. “Flu shot, hand washing, isolation — these things are the way to go.”

Just Posted

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it to editor@trailtimes.ca

Storm the Stairs and Trail Kidney Walk this weekend

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

Kootenay Robusters end 18th paddling season

Women of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together in 2001

Military exercises may be audible in Trail

The exercises will be conducted in the Trail area from Thursday to Sunday

Council rollover inspires crop of hopeful politicians

Fourteen people vying for six council seats

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Most Read