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Norovirus and Influenza Update

Norovirus and Influenza Update

Over the past month, hospitals and residential care facilities throughout the Lower Mainland have been significantly affected by a large number of norovirus outbreaks (infectious diarrhea), including two sites at Providence Health Care.

In order to prevent the spread of norovirus, please implement the following precautionary measures:

  • Perform frequent hand hygiene (alcohol-based hand rub can be used as an adjunct in between proper hand washing with soap and water)[1]
  • Remain at home when sick; do NOT potentially introduce norovirus into patient care areas or the workplace
  • When caring for patients with undiagnosed or infectious diarrhea, use contact precautions (gowns and gloves)
  • When caring for patients who are vomiting, wear a surgical mask as part of personal protective equipment
  • Ensure that there is no open and shared food on the units (e.g., chips, cakes, chocolates)


Early identification of a possible outbreak is critical.  Please contact Infection Prevention and Control (ext. 69357) if you suspect a norovirus outbreak. 

Please do not submit specimens for norovirus testing to the laboratory for testing as this will be coordinated by IPAC.

Influenza activity has also increased over the past month.  To date, all laboratory-confirmed cases at PHC have been caused by influenza A specifically (mostly H3N2), and there appears to be a good match between the circulating strain and the vaccine strain influenza A/Victoria/361/2011.

A number of our patients with influenza have presented with severe disease requiring admission to the ICU.

Protect yourself and others from influenza.  Get vaccinated, and offer vaccine to eligible patients. 

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