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Update on H1N1 activities

Posted Nov 6th, 2009

Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centres

NHS Emergency Rooms (ER) and Urgent Care Centres (UCC) saw a six percent overall increase in patient volumes yesterday as compared to the daily average last month; 542 patients yesterday compared to the September daily average of 512.

An additional 38 patients were seen in the Flu Assessment Centre, for a 13 percent overall increase of ER, Urgent Care and Flu Assessment Centre visits. Of the 580 patients seen in the ERs, UCCs and Flu Assessment Centre, 52 per cent of patients, or 301 patients, presented with flu symptoms.

Redirecting patients with minor symptoms to the Flu Assessment Centre (FAC) is taking some of the pressure off the ERs and Urgent Care Centres. In the first four days of operation, the FAC saw a total of 202 patients. People should only go to the FAC if they have minor flu symptoms – fever, dry cough, sore throat, mild vomiting, diarrhea, headache, body/muscle aches. They should go to the ER or call 911 if their condition is more serious.

Inpatients and Intensive Care Units

Most of the patients with flu-like illness are not critically ill. In most cases, these patients are treated and discharged and have not required hospitalization. There are currently 42 inpatients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 flu, compared to 38 yesterday.

Postponement of elective surgeries

Some elective inpatient surgeries were postponed today due to the number of patients requiring hospital treatment and the number of staff calling in sick. Endoscopy procedures and all day surgeries proceeded as scheduled.

By postponing surgeries, the hospital is able to redeploy nurses and other staff to other areas in the hospital.  The increased activity related to H1N1 is creating a ripple effect for services throughout the hospital, and there are a significant number of measures in place to manage the increased pressures.

The hospital will reassess on a daily basis the need to make changes in order to respond to the increase in demand for care due to the prevalence of flu symptoms and respiratory illness in our region. 

For more information on this news release, please contact:

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

Niagara Health System