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Health authority confirms cockroaches at B.C. hospital, insists they 'do not bite'

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The Vancouver Island Health Authority is downplaying what staff describe as a cockroach infestation in a medical unit of Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

Sources tell CTV News several patient rooms, the nursing station, the medication centre and the sluice room were full of the pests earlier this month – with cockroaches crawling on walls and burrowing into laundered linens – and that management asked staff to collect them.

“These bugs do not bite and do not transmit disease,” wrote a spokesperson for Island Health, confirming the insects are German cockroaches.

“A pest control contractor was immediately contacted and continues to visit the site twice a week to monitor traps and advise.”

The spokesperson said there have been no cockroaches spotted at the hospital since April 22 – last Monday – but that the pest control measures are still ongoing.

Health-care workers said they are “emotionally distraught” at finding the creatures on patients, and described at least one manager being dismissive of the insects, even though they observed dozens of cockroaches.

“What I've heard is that the cockroaches have been like climbing on bedding and on curtains in between patient rooms and just like very visible and that is disturbing,” said BC Nurses Union president, Adrian Gear.

She is urging the health authority to take the situation seriously and try to determine how so many of the pests were able to infest that area of the hospital.

“Saanich Peninsula Hospital remains a safe place to access care,” insisted the VIHA spokesperson. 

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