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

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

Sidney woman promises to pay back anonymous donor who covered her back rent

Zora Hlevnjak faced eviction after refusing to repay money earned collecting cans

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read