By Lawrence Powell
A flu assessment clinic could open in the Middleton area within the next week, Lynn Harrigan, vice-president of Medicine with Annapolis Valley Health, said Wednesday.
She said the clinic is in response to the increased number of people presenting flu-like symptoms at emergency rooms and doctors’ offices this week.
The Valley’s first assessment clinic opened in Wolfville last weekend, diverting those with flu, and possibly H1N1, away from emergency rooms.
Harrigan said the only hitch may be finding staff to run the assessment clinic. While Annapolis Valley Health has adequate staff to deliver vaccine at H1N1 clinics, opening an assessment clinic would be a new thing and staff would either have to be deployed from other duties or new staff hired.
As of Wednesday, about 10 per cent of Nova Scotia’s population was sick, including health workers.
Harrigton said it is important to keep those with flu-like symptoms out of emergency rooms and into an environment where they can be assessed quickly, administered Tamiflu if necessary, and sent home. Tamiflu is not only effective in flu prevention, but if taken in the first two days of infection, can stop the virus from spreading in the body.
Also on Wednesday, Health Promotion and Protection delivered an update on H1N1 cases and said Nova Scotia continues to experience an increase of H1N1 activity across the province.
Since the beginning of the 2009-10 influenza season, which runs from September 2009 to September 2010, the province has had: -- 377 lab-confirmed cases -- 26 hospitalizations for H1N1 -- No H1N1-related deaths since the province's one H1N1 fatality in July. "H1N1 is the only flu strain we are currently seeing in the province," said Maureen Baikie, deputy chief medical officer of health. "We will continue to see more sick people, and activity across the province."
The following district health authorities have reported outbreaks of influenza-like illness, with an increase in school absenteeism: -- South Shore Health -- South West Health -- Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority -- Capital Health
Other highlights include: -- The percentage of emergency room visits for influenza-like illness has increased to 15.4 per cent, from 3.7 per cent since the week of Oct. 18 to 24. -- Influenza-like illness has increased to 10.3 per cent, from 5.4 per cent, as reported by physicians around the province.
The province publishes a report on respiratory illnesses, including H1N1, every Wednesday. It can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/publications/NSRespiratoryWatch.pdf . A weekly news release with highlights from the report, will be distributed to media on Wednesdays.
Tamara Gilley, AVH director of public relations, said 446 people in high risk groups received the H1N1 vaccine in Middleton on Monday, plus 227 others were given their seasonal flu shots. She said this week’s clinics are going well, but people do have a lot of concerns. “We’re trying to provide folks with the most accurate information at the time,” she said. “We’re taking it week to week. We don’t like to talk too far out.”
For the most up-to-date information, go to www.avdha.nshealth.ca
Middleton area to get flu assessment clinic
Flu-like symptoms increasing in Annapolis County
By Lawrence Powell
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