Tag Archives: respiratory illness

Outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon Rescinded, Visitation Resumes

Update: February 16 at 9:40am

The outbreak at the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre has been rescinded and visitation at the facility may now resume.  The outbreak previously declared at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility has also been declared over.

While visitation at both facilities has now resumed, illnesses continue to circulate in many communities.  Anyone who is feeling ill or has signs and symptoms of an illness is asked to refrain from visiting a health facility unless to seek medical attention.  Please only visit if you are symptom free.  As well, infection control measures should continue to be practiced in homes and businesses. Frequent and proper handwashing are very important to eliminate the spreading of illnesses as well as coughing/sneezing into a tissue, sleeve, or crook of your elbow, staying home when ill, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

The Region thanks the general public for adhering to the visitation restrictions during the outbreak.  Thanks is also extended to staff and public health/inspection control teams for their diligence in working to rescind the outbreak as quickly as possible.


Update: February 13 at 10:25am

Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer, has rescinded the respiratory outbreak of coronavirus oc43 that has been in place at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility.  The outbreak in Herbert was originally declared on February 7.

Visitation at the Herbert facility is no longer restricted.  Anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of an illness currently or within the last seven days is asked to refrain from visiting the facility unless to seek medical attention. It is important to continue to minimize the spread of illness into and out of the facility.

The respiratory illness outbreak in Shaunavon remains in place with two residents currently showing signs and symptoms.  Lab results are still pending to determine the illness type that is being experienced in the long term care side of the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre.  Visiting restrictions remain in place and are limited to end of life situations only where special arrangements may be made with facility staff.

Good and thorough infection control practices should remain in place in all communities.  This includes frequent hand washing, staying home when ill, regularly cleaning commonly touched surfaces in the home and workplace, and sneezing/cough into a tissue, sleeve, or the crook of your elbow.


Update: February 9 at 4:50pm

The Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory has confirmed that the virus circulating within the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility is coronavirus OC43.

Coronaviruses are common viruses that most people get some time in their lives.  They usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses.

There are several different groupings of coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  Coronavirus OC43 is not the same as SARS or MERS.  Coronavirus OC43 is common around the world with symptoms including runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever.

To read more about coronaviruses please visit the Centres for Disease Control website.

The illness type circulating in Shaunavon remains unknown.


Update: February 9 at 2:40pm

The Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre has been placed under outbreak status due to the presence of respiratory illness amongst several of the facilities long term care residents.  The Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility also remains under outbreak status.

Visitation restrictions have been put in place during these outbreaks to minimize illness being brought into or carried out of the facilities. Until further notice visitation is restricted to an end of life situation where the facility should be contacted to discussion the options available for family members to visit their loved one.

Please note that the outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon affect long-term care services only; acute and emergency services remain available at both facilities.

Respiratory viruses are contagious.  They are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact through nasal and throat secretions.  Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Immunization is an important step to protect yourself and those around you. In addition to immunization other measures to protect yourself include proper hand hygiene with warm water and soap, staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or the crook of your elbow, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.  Parents with young children should wash their hands thoroughly before and after changing a diaper.  Hand sanitizers should not be used as a complete replacement for proper hand hygiene.

Read more information in the respiratory illness outbreak news release.


Original message: February 7 at 4:20pm

Under the guidance of Medical Health Officer Dr. David Torr, an outbreak has been declared at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility due to the presence of signs and symptoms of an unknown respiratory illness amongst the facility’s long term care residents.

This outbreak affects the long-term care side of the facility only.  All acute/emergency services are still available at the facility.

Due to this declaration, please consider the following:

  • Until further notice, visitation to the facility will be restricted.  The only exceptions to these restrictions will be in the event of an ‘end of life’ situation, where the nurse in charge at the facility can be contacted to discuss the options that are available for the family members to visit their loved one.
  • Outbreak has been declared due to the presence of an unconfirmed respiratory illness.  Samples are being forwarded to the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory in Regina for analysis and confirmation of the illness type.
  • Presently, there are 5 long term care residents within the facility who have been identified as meeting the signs and symptoms of this illness.
  • Enhanced cleaning and infection control protocols have been implemented within the facility in an attempt to remove the illness.

Public Health and Infection Control Team members are actively involved and are providing guidance into the ongoing steps being taken to eradicate the illness.  The Health Region is strongly emphasizing that individuals in all communities do what they can to prevent the spread of illness/sickness to others.  Frequent and proper handwashing, staying home when ill, and enhanced cleaning of hard surfaces within your homes/businesses should always be the normal practice.

Respiratory infections are infections of the respiratory tract, including upper (head and chest) and lower (lungs).  Symptoms of respiratory illnesses include congestion, cough, runny nose, sore throat, facial pressure, sneezing, watery eyes, ear congestion, fatigues, headache, shortness of breath, malaise, and high fever. Symptoms usually begin 1-3 days after exposure and usually end within 7-10 days of onset. Read more about Respiratory Illnesses.

Updates and additional information regarding this outbreak will be posted as they become available.

Respiratory Illnesses Circulating in Several Communities

There is a noted increase in respiratory activity in the Cypress Health Region, including influenza.  The general public is being reminded to take precautions and implement safeguards to protect themselves and those around them.

The Herbert and District Integrated Healthcare Facility and Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre have both been placed under outbreak status due to the presence of respiratory illnesses.  Optimal infection control precautions are in place at both facilities as the Region awaits lab results to determine further measures that may be necessary.  Visitation restrictions have been put in place during these outbreaks to minimize illness being brought into or carried out of the facility. The outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon affect long-term care services only; acute and emergency services remain available at both facilities.

“We are seeing notable respiratory activity in our communities, from influenza and other viruses, and are implementing measures to minimize spread of these illnesses in our facilities.  We ask that the public take similar steps in their homes and businesses including frequent and thorough hand hygiene, coughing into your sleeve or tissue, regular cleaning of surfaces that are commonly handled and easily contaminated, and staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention,” commented Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer for Cypress Health.  “Some respiratory illnesses can be quite severe, especially in those who are most vulnerable.  While these illnesses may be seen as minor in the eyes of some, they can actually be quite harmful and even deadly to other members of the community.”

Respiratory viruses are contagious.  They are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact through nasal and throat secretions.  Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Immunization is an important step to protect yourself and those around you.

“This year’s flu vaccine is well matched to the circulating strains of influenza.  The number of individuals who have received their vaccine is less than it has been in past years.  This puts the broader public at greater risk and we once again urge those who have not yet received their influenza immunization to do so as soon as they can,” Dr. Torr added.

Individuals can receive a flu vaccine by calling Public Health at 1-866-786-2510 or by attending a drop-in clinic in Swift Current. Drop-in dates and details are posted at on the events page.

In addition to immunization other measures to protect yourself include proper hand hygiene with warm water and soap, staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or the crook of your elbow, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.  Parents with young children should wash their hands thoroughly before and after changing a diaper.  Hand sanitizers should not be used as a complete replacement for proper hand hygiene.

Outbreak Now Rescinded at Swift Current Care Centre

Under the guidance of Medical Health Officer Dr. David Torr, the respiratory outbreak at the Swift Current Care Centre has been rescinded effective this morning.

Regular visitation can return to normal – the health region would like to thank the families and other visitors for their patience and understanding during the timelines of the outbreak. We appreciate the inconvenience of not being able to visit, but with the best interests of resident and staff safety in mind, it was essential to restrict visitation while the outbreak was in effect.

The health region would like to emphasize that all visitors practice good hand hygiene when entering and leaving the building, and to take advantage of the hand sanitizer stations available at the entrance doors. Visitors are encouraged to delay their visit if they are feeling unwell.

The facility’s staff will continue their emphasis on infection control and enhanced cleaning practices for the foreseeable future to ensure that the virus is maintained under control.

Enterovirus Precautions

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of about a hundred in a group of viruses called enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly seen. When they do cause illness, we usually see the symptoms as what we commonly know as the common cold.

Occasional infections have been reported in Canada and in Saskatchewan this and previous years. Enterovirus D68 is most often seen in the summer and early fall. A number of US states are seeing more cases, some severe enough to warrant admission and more intensive care, particularly in children and teenagers, and more especially those with predisposing conditions like asthma. To
date, four provinces in Canada, including Saskatchewan, have seen a small numbers of cases.

While some enteroviruses are common, this one has not been seen as frequently in Canada or the United States. As of September 2014, many children have become ill and 84 people in six states have been confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

Children and teenagers appear to be at increased risk of infection from EV-D68. It is thought they may lack protection from previous exposures to the virus. The virus can infect adults as well. Children with asthma seem to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

Many individuals will not have any symptoms; others will have common cold symptoms such as sniffles, nasal congestion and cough with or without general malaise.

You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people. Stay home if you or your child is ill.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • If symptoms are severe, seek medical attention.

Since people with asthma carry higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should take medicine regularly and maintain control of their illness during this time. They should also take advantage of the influenza vaccine since people with asthma have a difficult time with respiratory illnesses. Asthma can also be controlled by avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack, such as tobacco
smoke.