The Rick Lapointe Memorial hockey tournament was hit with norovirus, one of the most common gastrointestinal illnesses, says Island Health (Santeri Viinamäki/Wikimedia Commons)

‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Electrical issue causes heavy smoke to billow from Oak Bay Avenue coffee shop

Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded to smoke at Victoria café

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Most Read