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Pioneer Lodge warning visitors about disease outbreaks

Visitors at Pioneer Lodge may want to pay attention to the signs.

The senior’s residence has been the site of an ongoing flu outbreak over the last two weeks. In addition, a notice has been posted to the interior doors of the lodge’s front entrance, warning about a potential gastrointestinal outbreak.

According to Joy Bell, the administrator of the lodge, impacted residents have been suffering from a mix of flu, as well as the gastrointestinal disease, with their absence noted in the residence.

“Last week, we had a number of residents not feeling 100 per cent, but it was pretty well split between what was gastrointestinal virus and what was more of a chest (illness),” said Bell.

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“Anytime you’ve got that number of residents not feeling themselves, we certainly ask them to stay in their rooms, and we feel the less numbers in our activities, and we get more calls from our residents who need more assistance than they would normally need.”

Bell said that on the worst day of the outbreaks, there were 11 residents impacted. By Tuesday, that number had dropped to five. While she did not have an exact number on how many residents were affected in total, she said sick residents had been to the emergency room at the Lloydminster Hospital, while others had gone to visit their doctors.

Residents suffering from low oxygen levels from chest infections were also admitted to hospital. Bell also said that some residents had passed away over the weekend, with only one showing symptoms of flu.

“The last weekend, we’ve lost residents, but there has been extenuating circumstances,” said Bell.

“I’m not medically trained, so I can’t speak to this officially, but every one of the residents we’ve lost, some absolutely didn’t have any symptoms of these viruses.”

Bell said that three of the residents who did pass did not show any sign of the illnesses.

As for what measures the lodge has taken to protect other residents and visitors from exposure, Bell said outbreak protocols had been followed.

“We make sure individuals coming into the lodge are aware that we have these viruses in our facility, so they could be exposed coming in,” said Bell.

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“We ask people to limit their visits. They may bring something else in, and if we have a resident in a weakened condition, further exposure to a different virus certainly isn’t very good.”

Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu, the Medical Officer for Prairie North Regional Health Authority, said the flu outbreak at Pioneer Lodge was deemed a “community outbreak”, and handled a different way than outbreaks at long-term care facilities. He also said there had been no declared cases of gastrointestinal disease at the lodge.

According to Nsungu, the category of the flu circulating in the lodge was the same circulating throughout Saskatchewan, H3N2. As for notifying the public, Nsungu said the lodge would be responsible for telling visitors about the flu outbreak on arrival.

Nsungu indicated he expected the outbreak to be declared over “in a few days”.

“Usually, if it’s influenza we will wait seven to eight days, after the onset of the last case, for us to consider the outbreak is over,” said Nsungu.

“That’s seven to eight days without any new cases.”

On Wednesday morning, Bell said there were no new cases of flu at the lodge.

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