The H1N1 virus in southeast Saskatchewan’s Sun Country Health Region is hitting hard at six area schools and is affecting a number of teenagers in 13 communities.
“We have 48 lab-confirmed cases,” said Dr. Shauna Hudson, the region’s medical health officer said Monday. “They’ve all been mild to moderate.
We’ve had three inpatients, but they’re all doing well.”
The average age of those with lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 is 17.9 years.
“Twenty-seven of them are under the age of 15,” Hudson said. “We have 11 towns and two cities that have cases now. We have six schools (Monday) in our health region that reported greater than 10 per cent absenteeism from illness.”
She did not have the names of the affected schools or communities on Monday. Any time a school reaches a 10-per-cent absenteeism rate due to illness, it notifies the health region.
The six schools reported an absenteeism rate 10 per cent or higher.
“Of course, that isn’t all ILI (influenza-like illness), but the majority is,” Hudson said.
On Friday, Sun Country reported 20 lab-confirmed cases of H1N1.
More than 7,800 students attend the division’s 39 schools, which are spread over a large geographical area that includes Weyburn, Rocanville, Carlyle, Carnduff, Estevan, Fillmore, Pangman, Radville, Ogema and Yellow Grass.
Health-care workers in Sun Country joined their counterparts in rural Saskatchewan to get their pandemic H1N1 vaccinations on Monday.
Regina health-care workers will have the opportunity to get their H1N1 shots beginning today at the city’s two hospitals, plus the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre and the former Robert Usher Collegiate.
Starting Nov. 2, depending on the availability of vaccine, regional health authorities will begin to deliver H1N1 vaccinations to at-risk populations — those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, residents of remote and isolated communities, First Nations and Metis residents and children, six months to five years of age.
All Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to receive the H1N1 vaccinations when mass immunization clinics are available, starting in the week of Nov. 16.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the regular seasonal flu and include fever or shaking chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache and extreme tiredness.
Dr. Chris Vuksic, the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region’s senior medical officer, urges people with mild illness, such as fever and sore throat, to stay at home until they are symptom-free.
“There are some groups who need some special attention,” she said in a recent interview. “They may have a decrease in their immunity, they’re weak or frail or women who are pregnant. We suggest they seek medical attention somewhat earlier.”
Vuksic says people who are very lethargic, have a decreased level of consciousness or shortness of breath should seek immediate attention at an emergency department.
“We would actually encourage employers who have employees who aren’t overly sick not to seek medical attention for a doctor’s note,” she said. “That’s not going to be helpful for our system.”
People with mild symptoms or who want more information about the H1N1 influenza are encouraged to phone the HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002. The free, confidential, 24-hour health-advice telephone line is staffed by
registered nurses. The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region has increased staffing to HealthLine by one nurse and is in the process of hiring additional staff.
Beginning Nov. 2 and running to Nov. 6, public health nurses in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region will begin vaccinating children six months to four years with an H1N1 shot. About mid-November, public clinics will open for all Saskatchewan residents.
“When that H1N1 vaccine becomes available to individuals, we absolutely endorse and recommend that our clients and patients receive the H1N1 vaccine,” Vuksic said.http://www.leaderpost.com/health/H1N1+v ... story.html