Emergency departments at Calgary hospitals have been flooded with children following an infectious disease outbreak at day cares across the city.
Alberta Health Sevices (AHS) confirmed that multiple children arrived at the Alberta Children’s Hospital with bloody diarrhea over the Labour Day long weekend, and that they are dealing with an E.coli outbreak.
The outbreak is believed to have originated at a central kitchen that is shared by six locations of Fueling Brains, a day care that operates multiple locations in Calgary, as well as five additional institutions, AHS said in its statement.
CBC News has reached out to Fuelling Brains. The company said they will respond on Tuesday with more information.
12 patients hospitalized
In its statement, AHS said that there are 17 lab-confirmed cases that have been linked to the outbreak, as well as 12 individuals hospitalized.
Up to 50 children have come to hospitals, AHS said.
“A lot of these kids, unfortunately, have to be admitted for 24 hours,” said Dr. Arun Abbi, president of Emergency medicine with Alberta Medical Association, told CBC News in an interview.
“They’ll have to make sure there’s no kidney damage.”
All of the sites linked to the central kitchen where the outbreak came from have been issued a closure order until the situation is resolved. They include:
Fueling Brains Braeside.
Fueling Brains West 85th.
Fueling Brains New Brighton.
Fueling Brains Centennial.
Fueling Brains Bridgeland.
Fueling Brains McKnight.
Little Oak Early Education (formerly Mangrove).
Almond Branch School.
Vik Academy in Okotoks, Alta.
Katie Mclean, whose daughter goes to the McKnight location of Fuelling Brains, said she started noticing symptoms late last week.
“She was sent home with a very low fever and then over the next couple of days, there was blood in her diarrhea and that was the thing that tipped us off to call Health Link,” she said, referring to a phone line that provides health information and advice.
“We went to the ER on Sunday. It was filled with parents and toddlers …I overheard some other parents talking about an outbreak and their daycare.”
Mclean said that she has not heard anything from the location her daughter attends about an outbreak yet.
In a letter addressed to parents of the New Brighton location obtained by CBC News, the daycare asks parents and guardians to make sure their children “urgently” seek medical attention if they display any symptoms of gastrointestinal outbreak symptoms.
Symptoms include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, bloating or gas, loss of appetite, fever or fatigue.
More serious problems
Some forms of a E.coli are a common illness, such as traveller’s diarrhea. But Dr. Stephen Freedman, a professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Calgary, says that what AHS is seeing in this outbreak — shiga-toxin positive e.coli — can lead to more serious issues.
In addition to causing mild diarrhea when people are first infected, Freedman explained that after a couple of days, those infected can experience significant abdominal pains, cramping and frequent bloody diarrhea anywhere from 10 times a day up to 40 times a day.
The biggest concern however, he said, is that this bacteria that secretes a toxin that can damage other parts of the body.
“The toxin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and then circulates to other organs and can lead to impacts on on the kidneys,” Freedman said.
“Only about 15 to 20 per cent of children who have this … type of infection developed these complications at all. The other 80 to 85 per cent really have very uncomfortable, bothersome, and concerning diarrhea, abdominal pains and can have dehydration.”
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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