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Update on H1N1 activities

Posted Nov 13th, 2009

mergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centres

NHS Emergency Rooms (ER) and Urgent Care Centres (UCC) saw a one percent overall increase in patient volumes yesterday as compared to the daily average in September; 517 patients yesterday compared to the September daily average of 512.

An additional 19 patients were seen in the Flu Assessment Centre, for a 5 percent overall increase of ER, Urgent Care and Flu Assessment Centre visits. Of the 536 patients seen in the ERs, UCCs and Flu Assessment Centre, 33 per cent of patients, or 176 patients, presented with flu symptoms.

People should only go to the Flu Assessment Centre if they have mild 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.

The Flu Assessment Centre operated by NHS will remain open until Sunday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m.

Since opening on November 2 at the Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines, this centre has treated a total of 406 patients, helping to take some of the pressure off the ERs and Urgent Care Centres by redirecting patients with mild flu symptoms to the centre. This past week, the number of patients coming to the Flu Assessment Centre has been on the decline.

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 28 inpatients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 flu.

Visiting restrictions/controlled access to buildings

Visiting restrictions and reductions in the number of entrances at each sites will continue to help prevent the spread of flu illness. These temporary measures will be reassessed next week.

Visitors must be 16 years of age or older except for compassionate reasons. This restriction is due to the risk to inpatients, children and staff, and it is consistent with measures other hospitals in our Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) area are taking.

In the hospital’s three Maternal/Child Units, located at the Greater Niagara General, St. Catharines General and Welland sites, only parents will be permitted to visit the Special Care Nurseries. Visitors of patients in the labour and delivery area of the units will be limited to the same two identified visitors who must not have any flu symptoms.

Visitors are not to come to hospital to visit patients if they feel ill and will be asked to leave if they show signs of the flu. The incubation period for H1N1 is about seven days, and hospital visitors are asked to keep that in mind as they decide whether they should visit.

Please see the attached Appendices for further details on visiting hours and building entrance restrictions.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

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

Niagara Health System