‘Winter vomiting bug’ that hit Greater Victoria hockey tournament is common, says Island Health

Very little exposure is even needed to contract norovirus

Island Health says the “winter vomiting bug” that hit the Rick Lapointe Memorial hockey tournament in Greater Victoria is common, especially in the winter.

The Bantam hockey tournament was cut short for some after many of the young players, parents and spectators began having norovirus-like symptoms as the weekend progressed.

The outbreak was reported to Island Health by the tournament organizers on Dec. 6. On the Saturday, ill players were asked not to play and some teams pulled out of the tournament and went home, explained Dr. Dee Hoyano, a medical health officer for Island Health.

The main emphasis was on keeping ill players away, but the tournament was allowed to continue if the remaining healthy players were willing to play, she noted. Those who stayed to play had to take precautions as directed by Island Health.

READ ALSO: More than 90 people affected by norovirus-like outbreak at Greater Victoria hockey tournament

Hoyano explained that norovirus is one of the most common gastrointestinal illnesses and is very contagious. She noted that in a situation like the tournament where people are in close quarters for meals, activities and sleeping, it’s not difficult to be exposed.

Very little exposure is even needed to contract the virus, Hoyano emphasized. The virus can survive on surfaces for a long time and is tough to kill without bleach.

The outbreak at the hockey tournament was fairly typical, she explained. A high percentage of people living in close quarters getting ill can be expected. Hoyano emphasized that the virus can be spread for some time before and after symptoms are present. Thorough handwashing with warm, soapy water is the best way to protect against the illness.

Michelle Tice’s son, a player for the Hollyburn Huskies, has Type 1 diabetes and was one many athletes to fall ill during the tournament. She feels the outbreak is a good reminder to everyone to be careful and to help protect vulnerable people.

For a healthy kid, you know they’ll pull through, Tice explained. But for her son, excess vomiting can result in hospitalization as it can affect his insulin levels. Tice didn’t panic because she knew how to handle the situation, but she noted things could have taken a turn for the worst.

READ ALSO: ‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Tice’s son’s team decided to head home to West Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. They stayed in their cars to limit the spread of the virus as advised.

Tice sees the outbreak as a learning opportunity for people. She noted that as word of the outbreak spread, she heard people remarking that “kids are resilient.” She pointed out that while some kids are, they may come in contact with people who aren’t. Her cousin had come to watch the tournament and was hospitalized after contracting the virus because she’d recently had heart surgery.

“It’s not just your resilient kid you need to worry about, it’s the whole community,” Tice said.

Hoyano commended the tournament organizers for their swift reporting and action.

Tice feels the situation can serve as a warning to those organizing tournaments in the future. A risk management plan should be created just in case, she noted.

Tice’s son is feeling better now and is glad to have avoided the hospital. He’s now looking forward to getting back on the ice.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Missing mushroom picker found “alive and well” after three-day search in Ucluelet

“It’s always great to have a positive outcome like this.”

Access to the pristine northwest Vancouver Island beach at risk

Road to remote Side Bay beach north of Brooks Peninsula could be deactivated

Netflix, Warner Bros filming 10-part series in Colwood

Filming takes place now until March 2021

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Sheila McDonnell elected chair of Comox Valley Schools board

Sheila McDonnell was elected chair of the Comox Valley Schools board of… Continue reading

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Most Read