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Health unit preparing for possible second wave – TimminsToday

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With people starting to head indoors, Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton expects to see more COVID-19 cases.

Heading into fall means school is back in session, and flu season is on the way.

“As we head indoors for the fall and spend more time in our homes and enclosed spaces, we can expect to see more COVID-19 cases. We have learned that COVID-19 spreads more readily indoors, and from person to person,” said Catton.

“It is recognized that people may be tired of COVID-19, however, now more than ever, we must remain dedicated to the public health measures. Staying home if you are not well, physical distancing, keeping to your social circles, washing your hands, and wearing a face mask remain critical. These measures helped us reopen and can make a significant difference on the duration and size of the next wave.”

By keeping low COVID-19 case numbers in the region, she said it reduces the risk in schools and helps keep local businesses open.

“We have a shared responsibility to protect the health of our communities. We are all in this together,” she said.

For flu season, the health unit is emphasizing the increased importance of getting an influenza vaccination.

Clinics will look different this year.

“The PHU will be providing larger clinics in centralized locations with space to ensure appropriate physical distancing, and other public health measures,” she said.

“Things we learn during our mass immunization clinics this flu season will help us prepare for similar immunization clinics when a COVID-19 vaccine is available. While it is recommended annually, this year it is even more important for community members to get a flu vaccine.

At the six-month mark of the pandemic, the organization is armed with more information heading into a potential second wave.

The health unit, said Catton, has been preparing for a possible second wave for the last few months.

“We will continue to leverage the strong local relationships with our community partners across sectors to prevent and quickly respond to positive cases; ensure timely access to testing of persons with symptoms; rapidly identify individuals with COVID-19; and support community members who experienced more challenges during the first wave due to difficult life circumstances,” said Catton.

“Additional public health staff have been reassigned, hired, and trained to increase the capacity for case management and contact tracing, respond to questions and concerns from community members. We have a team of public health professionals including health promoters, public health inspectors and public health nurses who are supporting the safe reopening of schools.”

As the health unit learns about emerging evidence, she said their response and recommendations are adjusted.

“We have also seen the resilience of our northern communities, and the strength of local connections between public health, municipalities, social services, educations, and health care partners. This has all been instrumental in the ongoing response,” said Catton.

One of the lessons she noted is the impact of social isolation on people.

“It’s not just children who have struggled with it. We’ve seen many adults become more stressed and more anxious. As we move forward it is important to continue to connect with others and ensure supports for all community members in a COVID-safe manner. Kindness, respect and compassion are key as we work together to follow the measures to limit the impact of COVID moving forward,” she said.

This past week, the COVID-19 cases being reported across the province have jumped.

In the Porcupine Health Unit region, one new case was reported yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 75. Of those, 64 are recovered and nine people have died. There are two known active cases.

Catton said the outbreaks in other areas of the province highlight the importance of screening.

“If you have any symptoms – even if mild, please stay home – do not go to work, school, a family BBQ, or even the grocery store. Stay home, isolate, call to get tested, and then after testing please remain at home until your test results are available. If you are well, and able to work, or to go to a small gathering, a grocery store, to a recreational facility, please remember to practise physical distancing, handwashing, mask use, cough and sneeze etiquette,” she said.

To access COVID-19 testing, call your health care provider or the health unit.

The COVID-19 information line can be reached at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.

There are COVID-19 assessment centres in Timmins, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst, and Hornepayne.

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Flu shot roll out begins in November – Prince George Citizen

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With COVID-19 still on the loose, Northern Health says it’s now important than ever to get a shot to protect against the spread of the common flu.

And the chance to get one will come as soon as the first week of November when they will be available at most Northern Health flu clinics, pharmacies and doctors offices throughout the region.

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Not only will it keep you from contracting the bug but ease the load on the medical system.

“Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Northern Health said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“If influenza spreads rapidly in communities at the same time as COVID-19 – it can overwhelm the healthcare system and put our loved ones at risk. The best protection is to get the flu shot this fall…and stay home if you are sick.”

To find a flu clinic or provider nearest you, visit ImmunizeBC’s website, or call 811.

You’re also urged to make an appointment to reduce line-ups and maintain safe physical distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic maintains its grip.

Downloading the NH Check In app is also helpful. Found at https://www.northernhealth.ca/services/digital-health/nhcheckin, it lets you wait and check in online from your car, home , or office, lets you notify staff once you’ve arrived, without having to come inside the building and reduces the amount of time you spend in waiting rooms.

The shots are free for children, seniors, pregnant people, Indigenous people, those with underlying medical or chronic health conditions and those who work with or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.

For more information about the flu visit northernhealth.ca.

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Top doctor to update Albertans on COVID-19 pandemic as active cases peak – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
The chief medical officer of health will give a pandemic update Tuesday afternoon after active COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high in Alberta to start the week.

Alberta added 898 cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, a tally that increased the province’s confirmed infection count to 3,138 – a pandemic high.

The previous record was set on April 30 when Alberta had a reported 3,022 active cases.

The Edmonton zone still has the bulk of Alberta’s cases with 1,604, but the Calgary zone is experiencing a spike with 998 infections.

Alberta Health Services has reported more than 300 positive tests in a single day three times in October, including 356 cases on Sunday, though the province has never added more than 400 infections in one day during the pandemic.

Hospitals have 117 patients with COVID-19, including 18 people in intensive care.

The province has reported 22,673 cases and 292 deaths to date.

Watch Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s remarks at 3:30 p.m. live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

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Appointments Needed This Year for Flu Shot Clinics – VOCM

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The public flu shot clinics begin tomorrow, but appointments are necessary this year because of the pandemic. No walk-ins will be permitted.

Appointments can be booked online using a new online tool: Health Myself.

Eastern Health

Central Health

Western Health

Labrador-Grenfell Health

People can also book an appointment by calling 709-273-3904 or toll-free 1-833-951-3904. Appointments have to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Stringent public health measures will be in place at the clinics; everyone will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and all must wear a mask.

A grant will be available to employers with over 100 employees who wish to hire a qualified health care provider to offer a workplace vaccination clinic. Flu vaccine and appropriate PPE will be provided to those employers.

The regional health authorities are working with the schools to offer the flu vaccine to students in grades 4-12.

Nearly 158,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador got the shot last year.

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