The boil water notice has not had a significant impact on Prince Rupert’s acute care system, said a Northern Health spokesperson.
The health authority has responded to recent statements from the BC Nurses’ Union president, Christine Sorensen, that nurses have had long-time concerns about the water at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.
Sorensen had said she was informed patients in the care unit at the hospital have been advised not to bathe.
“There has been no direction given in any department at the hospital that staff or patients not use the water for hygiene purposes,” said Eryn Collins, Northern Health’s communications manager.
Collins said when the boil water notice was issued Dec. 14, Northern Health had immediately put in contingency plans for providing safe drinking water in place for the acute care facility at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, but also for the long-term care and assisted living facilities.
“We increased the supply of bottled water to the hospital, Acropolis and Summit Residences,” she said on Dec. 21.
“We’re replenishing that as needed, we’re not using ice in any of the facilities for patient consumption, we’re only using it for clinical purposes, like ice packs for rehab.”
The boil water notice was issued when there were higher than acceptable levels of giardia and cryptosporidium found in the the city’s water. Both these microscopic parasites can lead to gastrointestinal infections. Northern Health said it hasn’t had an influx of patients reporting related symptoms related to the water.
“There has not been a significant impact on the acute care system in Prince Rupert, for example we haven’t had any significant increase in patients preventing GI symptoms or any confirmed cases of illness related to the boil water notice. We’re continuing to monitor but we’re confident that patient, staff, and physicians have access to clean water for whatever purposes they require,” Collins said.
“There has been a lot of work on mitigating and addressing the issue, we’re continuing to work closely with the City of Prince Rupert on that.”
There is no update on the study regarding the muddy water found at taps at the hospital. However, Northern Health will provide more information on the study that’s being done and the filtration system at the hospital some time early in the new year.