Respiratory Illnesses Circulating in Several Communities

There is a noted increase in respiratory activity in the Cypress Health Region, including influenza.  The general public is being reminded to take precautions and implement safeguards to protect themselves and those around them.

The Herbert and District Integrated Healthcare Facility and Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre have both been placed under outbreak status due to the presence of respiratory illnesses.  Optimal infection control precautions are in place at both facilities as the Region awaits lab results to determine further measures that may be necessary.  Visitation restrictions have been put in place during these outbreaks to minimize illness being brought into or carried out of the facility. The outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon affect long-term care services only; acute and emergency services remain available at both facilities.

“We are seeing notable respiratory activity in our communities, from influenza and other viruses, and are implementing measures to minimize spread of these illnesses in our facilities.  We ask that the public take similar steps in their homes and businesses including frequent and thorough hand hygiene, coughing into your sleeve or tissue, regular cleaning of surfaces that are commonly handled and easily contaminated, and staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention,” commented Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer for Cypress Health.  “Some respiratory illnesses can be quite severe, especially in those who are most vulnerable.  While these illnesses may be seen as minor in the eyes of some, they can actually be quite harmful and even deadly to other members of the community.”

Respiratory viruses are contagious.  They are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact through nasal and throat secretions.  Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Immunization is an important step to protect yourself and those around you.

“This year’s flu vaccine is well matched to the circulating strains of influenza.  The number of individuals who have received their vaccine is less than it has been in past years.  This puts the broader public at greater risk and we once again urge those who have not yet received their influenza immunization to do so as soon as they can,” Dr. Torr added.

Individuals can receive a flu vaccine by calling Public Health at 1-866-786-2510 or by attending a drop-in clinic in Swift Current. Drop-in dates and details are posted at on the events page.

In addition to immunization other measures to protect yourself include proper hand hygiene with warm water and soap, staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or the crook of your elbow, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.  Parents with young children should wash their hands thoroughly before and after changing a diaper.  Hand sanitizers should not be used as a complete replacement for proper hand hygiene.