Health warning signs at reception area of Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. Visitors and patients were advised to enter for visitation only if urgent. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Flu outbreak in Prince Rupert, patients told to go elsewhere

An influenza outbreak have been declared by the medical officer at Northern Health.

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital has declared an outbreak of influenza that included the quarantine of the third floor of the hospital.

Northern Health hospital staff at the reception desk at the hospital were advising visitors on Jan. 28 not to attend the third floor.

A handful of patients on the acute care ward (Third Floor) have come down with flu-like symptoms,” Eryn Collins, manager of media relations for Northern Health, said. “The medical officer declared an outbreak of influenza. It happens during flu season.”

On Jan. 27, posters on the hospital entrance doors advise no visitation unless it is urgent, however patients have reported being turned away.

Joel Pohl, an expectant father, said he was telephoned by a hospital doctor who informed him to make alternative arrangements for his wife’s upcoming delivery. He was advised to go to Terrace for the birth he said.

READ MORE: Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

“It leaves you hanging. I can’t afford a hotel room in Terrace waiting for the baby to be born. She’s due any day but baby may take up to weeks to arrive,” Pohl said.

The hospital have left him with no option but to “skip town” and head to Prince George where he has family he can stay with. Before leaving he had to stop at the hospital to pick up his wife’s medical records so she could have care in Prince George.

“I’m really surprised no official statement has been issued. It seems pretty serious in there. I even heard some doctors were quarantined,” Pohl said. He clarified he didn’t know that for certain.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

The threshold for declaring an outbreak is quite low, Collins said, and stressed the issue is not related to coronavirus. Patients are still being seen and the hospital has not shut down. Posters are up advising visitors to visit only on an urgent basis.

Despite irresponsible and unsubstantiated social media posts, Northern Health has confirmed the influenza outbreak is in no way associated with coronavirus.


K-J Millar | Journalist

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A discarded facial precaution mask was left on the street near Prince Rupert Regional Hospital on Jan. 28, where an influenza outbreak was declared.

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