Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H1N1 virus continues to impact on life in the Northwest

The plan to reopen schools in the Hazelton area was re-addressed today, as the continuing high level of sick rates gave the school district cause to keep them closed until later this week. Coast Mountain school officials explained that staff absenteeism due to flu-related illness remained high, and they were having troubles replacing all teachers who are away.

Coast Mountain District had closed the Kitimat schools last week, as that community tried to reduce the impact of the virus in the schools there.

While the schools remain closed in Hazelton, there were revisions to the plans to distribute the H1N1 vaccine in Terrace, that after Northern Health advised that a shortage of the vaccine would require the cancellation of the clinics planned for Sunday and yesterday.

Last week reports of line ups of three to seven hours were reported at those Terrace clinics that did open. An unfortunate incident during one of those clinic sessions left some Terrace residents shaken, as an elderly gentleman awaiting his turn in line for a shot, suffered a medical emergency while in the line and subsequently passed away from other underlying health issues.
His passing was not related to the vaccine itself, but judging by some of the comments on the Terrace Daily on line website, the length of the wait times for the most vulnerable has become a controversial issue in that community.

The next clinics planned for that community take place this Thursday and Friday.

As for Prince Rupert, the third of three recent clinics took place on Saturday, Northern Health has plans for another vaccination session to take place at the Health Unit on Friday, November 13 from 10 am to 4 pm, it like the clinics of last week is designated as for those only who have the highest risk factors.

The Ministry of Health updated their statistics on the H1N1 situation today, with the report that eight more British Columbians have passed away from the H1N1 virus and that the number of severe cases in the province continue to rise.

The BC Centre for Disease Control outlined that since April of this year, 601 severe H1N1 cases have been reported in the province, 202 of those cases newly created files since November 3rd alone.

Included in the statistics is the grim number of 23 deaths reported from the outbreak. Of those deaths , 22 of the fatal cases were said to be related to underlying medical conditions.

The Northern Health region accounted for 25 of the 601 cases province wide, there have been no deaths attributed to H1N1 so far during the outbreak in the Northern Health region.
The majority of lab-confirmed cases in the province have been described as mild or moderate in severity. For the most part patients have already recovered or are currently recovering from their battle with the flu.

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