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

Prince Harry reunites with Meghan and Archie in Victoria

Buckingham Palace said Tuesday it would not comment on private matters

Dog dies, Victoria man arrested after incident in Oaklands

Police called to ‘incident between a man and a dog’ Monday afternoon

Booms go up in Gorge Creek after hydrocarbon spill

The source of the spill is being investigated

Supreme Court determines next phase of Victoria’s plastic bag ban on Thursday

The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether or not it will hear the appeal

Put away the shovels, week of rain ahead for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada calling for wet weather until Sunday

VIDEO: Greater Victoria mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Most Read