Flu Season

Influenza widespread in Simcoe Muskoka: Medical Officer of Health

We have been hearing for a while now that this year’s influenza season could be nasty.

Every year health officials monitor activity in the Southern Hemisphere to predict what might come our way, and this year’s findings have caused concern. News reports tell us that Australia and Hong Kong have been dealing with one of the worst flu seasons on record, and this has prompted health experts here to advise us to be even more vigilant in protecting themselves against influenza.

Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner has issued a declaration of widespread influenza activity in Simcoe Muskoka.

Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner has issued a declaration of widespread influenza activity in Simcoe Muskoka. In a January 11th news release, Dr. Gardner said the region is at or near the peak of influenza activity which can last for two to four weeks.

The formal declaration of widespread activity is based on information obtained through monitoring of hospital emergency department visits, lab-confirmed cases of influenza, institutional outbreaks and physician reports of fever and flu-like illness.

When the declaration is made, the health unit notifies the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Public Health Ontario and health care partners of the local situation. Some health care organizations use this declaration to implement additional strategies to further control the spread of influenza, particularly within health care facilities.

Collingwood General & Marine Hospital has put precautionary measures into place

Even though the Collingwood hospital is not currently experiencing an influenza outbreak, more staff members are wearing masks to help prevent an outbreak from occurring.

At this time, the community should be aware of the following changes at the hospital:

Volunteers at the Front Desk and the Emergency Department (ED) will begin asking all patients and visitors entering the hospital to wear a mask for their protection, along with the protection of our admitted patients and staff.

Vigilant hand washing is also strongly encouraged.

Visitors are still allowed, but have been restricted to one per patient at any one time.

Due to the need to mask for protection, children under 12 years of age are also discouraged from visiting at this time.

It goes without saying that if you are experiencing flu like symptoms, you are asked to please refrain from visiting patients in the hospital.

The G&M’s Emergency Department is seeing an increase in visits due to the surge and despite being prepared for increased volumes, is still experiencing longer than normal wait times.

You have options for care

The public is reminded that there are other options for care for those with minor ailments such as mild cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, sprains and strains, tooth pain, lower back pain, pink eye and rashes, apart from the Hospital’s ED.

The After Hours Clinic is open from Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., and sees patients on a first come, first served basis.

The Same Day Clinic, run by a Nurse Practitioner, is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and anyone can call to book a same day appointment for minor ailments if they don’t have a local family physician or their physician is away. The number is 705-445-0333.

Members of the community are reminded to protect themselves against the influenza virus. If you have not yet received a flu shot, it’s not too late to get it. Check with your local pharmacy or contact your family physician.

For more information CLICK HERE to visit the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit web site

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