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Update on H1N1 activities

Posted Oct 30th, 2009

Increased visits

Niagara Health System Emergency Rooms (ER) and Urgent Care Centres (UCC) across the region continue to see increasing numbers of patients, with an overall 26.5 per cent increase yesterday as compared to the daily average for last month.

The increased visits are not all patients with flu-like symptoms, although this is a major contributing factor. The percentage increases range from 12.1 at Douglas Memorial UCC to 51.1 per cent at Port Colborne UCC. However, the St. Catharines ER and Ontario Street UCC are seeing the highest additional patient visits, with 65 additional patient visits per day compared to the daily average for last month.

“Overall, since last month, the number of patients to our ERs and UCCs, has steadily increased,” says Anne Atkinson. “Our doctors and staff have done a phenomenal job through these extremely difficult circumstances to ensure our patients get safe, quality care, and I am very proud to be a part of their team.”

Beginning today, patients coming to the ERs and UCCs with flu-like symptoms will be streamed into a designated waiting area separate from other patients.

Increased patient admissions

Patient admissions for confirmed or suspected H1N1 are also increasing with both adults and children. As of Friday morning, there were 17 inpatients across our sites.

Masks required

Niagara Health would like to remind the public of the importance of wearing a mask in our buildings if they have flu-like symptoms.

“The masks are key in preventing the spread of influenza-like illness and other infectious illnesses,” says Anne. “Most people coming to our sites are supportive of the request to wear a mask, and that support is very much appreciated. It is important to stress that people who refuse to wear a mask are putting at risk the health and safety of other patients and visitors, as well as hospital staff and doctors. Unfortunately, refusal by a patient to wear a mask could delay our health providers’ ability to provide care.”

Site entrance restrictions

Niagara Health today reduced the number of entrances at each of its sites to control the flow of people through the hospital buildings and ensure everyone complies with good hand hygiene.

The site entrances will be staffed by greeters, who will provide directions, hand out H1N1 information sheets, provide education, and ensure everyone who comes into the building uses the hand sanitizers at the entrances before moving through the site. Masks will be handed out to everyone with flu-like symptoms.


As always, members of the public who are feeling ill are asked not to visit patients. Close family members and friends are welcome if they are feeling well and have not been in contact with someone who has had flu-like symptoms in the last week.

Hospital staff will be asking visitors to leave if they have any respiratory ailments or other obvious symptoms.

For more information, contact:

Caroline Bourque Wiley
Consultant, Public Affairs
905-378-4647, ext. 43113

Niagara Health System