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Influenza Update: Health Unit Says Community is Prepared


April 30, 2009 - The Health Unit is reassuring the community that a pandemic plan is in place and the community is ready to respond to a potential pandemic.

Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Graham indicates community partners have been working together since 2004 to develop a plan that addresses local needs.

“Areas such as surveillance, health service coordination, the management of cases and contacts, communications, and the distribution of vaccines and anti-virals are roles these partners have taken on,” said Dr. Graham.

Partners who have contributed to the community response plan include: Thunder Bay District Health Unit, City of Thunder Bay (Fire, Police, EMS), hospitals, long term care facilities, boards of education, post-secondary institutions, and several other organizations that provide community care and protection.

“Their involvement in the planning process has also assisted some partners in developing their own business continuity plans in the event of a pandemic,” Graham added.

The City's emergency services - Superior North Emergency Medical Services, Fire, Police - have been meeting for a week to monitor the global influenza situation. They are following their contingency pandemic plans developed in partnership with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and other key agencies.

To date, there has been no increase in emergency calls related to influenza-like illness. Superior North EMS has an electronic database that provides real time information. Any change in the situation will be immediately known. The City’s emergency services have protective equipment to respond to local needs and first responders are trained in the use of the equipment.

Currently there are no confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Thunder Bay and District. Nineteen human Swine Flu cases have been reported in Canada, to date. Eight cases are now in Ontario and all are considered mild. To prevent the illness, public health is advising the community to practice good hand hygiene, cover your cough and stay home if you are ill.

Regular updates on Swine Flu are posted on the Health Unit’s website. Please visit tbdhu.com for more information.

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For more information: Health Unit Media Line 625-8800 or 1-888-294-6630, extension 8800