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Several respiratory viruses are making the rounds in Oxford County

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Woodstock Hospital has had to deal with much higher emergency room volumes over the past two weeks, due to a number of viruses and other infections making their way around Oxford County.

“We’ve had as many as 40 additional people in a 24 hour period,” said Jayne Menard, vice president of patient care. “We have seen an increased number of people with respiratory and gastric-like symptoms.”

The ER was especially busy over Christmas when holiday gatherings act as breeding grounds for nasty bugs.

“We did anticipate the holiday rush and staffed some additional physicians and nurses over key periods where we expected to see higher numbers,” Menard said. “Volumes seem to have come back down to the seasonal norm for now, but volumes are always higher in the winter months.”

Besides 13 lab confirmed cases of influenza A since early December, Oxford County public health said there other viruses floating around the county.

“We had two confirmed Norovirus outbreaks that started in December that are now declared over—one in a long-term care home and one in a childcare,” said Elaine Reddick, program supervisor of health protection. “We currently have a gastrointestinal outbreak in a retirement home but no pathogen has been found yet.”

Norovirus causes a person’s stomach and intestines to get inflamed, which leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and can cause vomiting.

Pesky respiratory illnesses including coronavirus and rhinovirus, or the common cold, have also been taking their toll.

“In our long term care homes we have seen other respiratory viruses in outbreaks over the last few weeks,” Reddick said.

Public health is also monitoring eight cases of pertussis or whooping cough in the community.

Pertussis is caused by a bacteria, but also causes respiratory symptoms.”

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