Tag Archives: Influenza

2017-2018 InFLUenza Season

Residents encouraged to get immunized before the end of public clinics

As infuenza season continues, Cypress Health Region residents are encouraged to receive their free influenza immunization. The Region’s seasonal influenza immunization campaign began on October 23 and will run until November 25th.

Immunizations are the best way to protect yourself, your family, and those around you from influenza. Influenza immunization is currently available, free of charge, to all Saskatchewan residents six months of age and older.

“Influenza is more serious than the common cold and can cause significant illness, even death, especially in more vulnerable populations. We strongly urge members of the public to get immunized and help minimize illness and complications in our communities,” commented Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer for the Health Region.

Influenza activity in Saskatchewan is increasing. The percentage of laboratory tests positive for influenza remains higher for this time of year compared to previous seasons. The majority of influenza detections are for influenza A (H3N2). The vaccine available this year offers protection against the influenza A (H3N2) and three other strains of the influenza virus.

As of November 9, 2017 there have been approximately 5,800 immunizations provided through the Cypress Health Region’s mass immunization clinics. Additional doses have been administered by pharmacies and physician offices and are not included in this figure.
For more information about influenza and the ongoing influenza immunization program including clinic dates, times and locations please visit www.cypressshealth.ca/influenza

Influenza Immunizations Still Available – Drop In Clinics Offered in Several Communities

The Cypress Health Region has concluded its mass influenza immunization clinic schedule for the 2016 fall campaign.  Several drop-in style clinics have been added to the schedule for those still wishing to receive an influenza immunization.

Drop-in style flu clinics have been scheduled as follows:

Swift Current

Dates: December 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; January 13, 27; February 10, 24; March 10, 24

8:30am to 11:30am, EI Wood Building, 4th floor

Leader

Date: Tuesday, December 6

9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Leader Primary Health Care Centre

Maple Creek

Dates: Thursday, December 1 and 8

9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility

Shaunavon

Date: Monday, December 19

9:00am to 4:00pm, Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre

Each of the above-listed clinics are drop-in style with no appointment necessary.  Individuals are reminded to bring their Saskatchewan Health Card when attending any clinic offering immunizations. Alternate arrangements for receiving an influenza immunization can be made by calling 1-866-786-2510. Vaccine is also available at many physician offices and pharmacies in southwest Saskatchewan.

Influenza cases are starting to be detected in Saskatchewan.  The strains of influenza being seen are strongly matched to this year’s vaccine.  To date approximately 9,200 individuals have received their immunization from Cypress Health’s Public Health Nursing team while many others have received their flu shot from a physician or pharmacist.  Immunization is the single most effective measure one can take to protect themselves, their family members, and those around them from influenza.

Influenza is a serious viral disease that needs to be treated seriously; it is not the common cold.  Influenza can result in hospitalization and death.  Vaccine is beneficial for the entire population over the age of six months to receive.

Free Flu Shots Available in Saskatchewan Beginning October 31

To find a flu clinic in your community view the 2016 Flu Clinic Calendar.

Full information on Influenza can be found on our Influenza page here.

The publicly-funded (free) influenza vaccine will be offered in Saskatchewan beginning October 31 and is recommended to all residents six months of age and older.  The free flu vaccine will be available through public health clinics across the province, at some physician and nurse practitioner offices, and from participating pharmacies.

“Influenza, commonly known as the flu, can cause serious illness and result in complications, hospitalization and even death,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.  “Getting a flu shot is especially important for people who are most at risk of serious illness from influenza – seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions – and their caregivers.”

Only injectable vaccine will be offered in Saskatchewan through the publicly-funded influenza immunization program for 2016-17.  The injectable vaccine provides protection against four different flu virus strains that are most likely to circulate in 2016-17.

To read full details regarding the fall influenza immunization campaign please visit our Influenza page.

Increased Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity Reported

The influenza immunization program has been extended to April 29, 2016. You will have until this date to receive your flu vaccine. Read more here.

There is a noted increase in respiratory activity in the Cypress Health Region, including influenza. The public is encouraged to take precautions against spreading germs/illness and should consider receiving an influenza immunization if they have not already done so this flu season.  Lab confirmed influenza cases are currently circulating in various communities and an overall increase of influenza activity is being experienced.

The primary strains of influenza currently circulating are H3N2, H1N1, and Influenza B.  All of these are included in this year’s flu vaccine, meaning protection is available through immunization.  The health region is seeing particularly significant numbers of cases among the working age population and preschoolers.

Influenza, and the other circulating respiratory viruses, are contagious. They are spread by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with the viruses in nasal and throat secretions. Symptoms can include sudden onset of fever and chills, a cough, muscle aches, a headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.  In most cases, these infections may result in being home sick for a few days; however, influenza can result in hospitalization and death.

“We are presently seeing a large influx of respiratory activity in our communities and are seeing a surge in demand at clinics and emergency rooms by those who are ill,” commented Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region.  “Some of these cases are quite severe and we want to remind the public about the dangers of influenza.  Influenza is a vaccine-treatable illness and I strongly encourage individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones by receiving a free immunization.”

A drop-in clinic is scheduled at the Swift Current Public Health Office located in the E.I. Wood Building on Friday, March 18 from 8:30am to 11:30am. No appointment is necessary to receive a free immunization at this clinic.  Those living outside of Swift Current or whom are unable to attend on this date are encouraged to contact their local public health office to schedule an appointment.  In addition, some pharmacies and physician practices throughout the region may also still have access to vaccine.

In addition to immunization, other measures are recommended to be taken to help reduce the spread of illness and to improve one’s protection. These include proper and frequent handwashing, staying home when ill, covering your cough/sneeze, and frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.  These precautions should be implemented in homes and businesses.

Resources:

Influenza Immunizations Remain Available via Drop-In Clinics

The Cypress Health Region has concluded the mass influenza immunization clinic schedule for the 2015 fall campaign. The health region’s Public Health Nursing team provided over 40 clinics in more than 20 communities throughout the region.

With the mass public clinic schedule now completed, the region has moved to the next phase of the influenza immunization campaign. A series of additional clinics have now been made available to provide individuals and families with further opportunities to receive the flu vaccine.


Drop-in style flu clinics have been scheduled and will be offered in the following communities/locations:

 

Swift Current – E.I. Wood Building, 4th Floor (350 Cheadle Street West)

  • Clinic times: 8:30am to 11:30am.
  • Dates: December 18; January 8 and 22; February 5 and 19; March 4 and 18

Maple Creek – Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility (102 – 5th Avenue West)

  • December 8 – 9:00am to 12:00 noon; 1:00pm to 4:00pm
  • December 17 – 1:00pm to 4:00 pm

Shaunavon – Public Health Nursing Office, Shaunavon Hospital & Care Centre

  • December 10 – 9:00am to 12:00 noon; 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Each of the above-noted clinics is drop-in style with no appointment necessary. Both injectable vaccine and FluMist, a nasal spray option for children aged 2-17, will be available for free. Individuals are reminded to bring their Saskatchewan Health Services card to the drop-in clinics.

Parents with children who are under 9 years of age and receiving the influenza immunization for the first time this year should be advised that their child will require a second dose of vaccine to enhance their protection. The second dose will be required one month after the first dose is received.

Immunization is the single most effective measure one can take to protect themselves, their family members, and those around them. The influenza immunization is beneficial for the entire population over the age of six months to receive.

Influenza vaccine is also available at many physician clinics and pharmacies throughout the Cypress Health Region

Questions regarding the influenza vaccine can be directed to your nearest public health nursing office, your family physician, your community pharmacy, or by calling the provincial HealthLine at 8-1-1.

Public Health Immunization Clinics to Begin October 19

Immunizations are the best way to protect yourself, your family, and those around you from influenza.  The Cypress Health Region will begin its seasonal influenza immunization campaign with the first clinic of the season on October 19 in Swift Current.

Vaccine will be available to all Saskatchewan residents at no cost.  Any person can attend any of the available public clinics to receive their immunization.  Between mid-October and mid-November 39 clinics will be offered in 20 communities throughout the southwest.  Several of these clinics offer evening and weekend opportunities.

Clinics in Cypress Health communities:

Everyone is encouraged to receive their seasonal influenza vaccination.

“Influenza is more serious than the common cold and can cause significant illness and even death, especially in more vulnerable populations. A number of people get seriously ill every flu season and sadly we do experience deaths in our region each year due to influenza. We are strongly urging the public to get immunized and help minimize illness and complications in our communities,” commented Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer for the health region.

“Vaccine is safe, effective, and protective and very rarely causes any complication. I strongly encourage everyone to get their annual influenza immunization and to encourage family, friends, and other members of the community to do the same – it is free and available to all,” added Torr.

High risk groups for influenza include health care workers, adults and children with chronic health conditions, child care providers, residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities, seniors, healthy pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years but older than 6 months of age.

High risk groups for influenza include health care workers, adults and children with chronic health conditions, child care providers, residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities, seniors, healthy pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years but older than 6 months of age.

Both injectable (needle) and nasal spray vaccine will be available.  Injectable vaccine is the primary method of immunization for the general public.  For those aged 2-17, a nasal spray option known as FluMist will be available again this year.  FluMist will be available from public health clinics before the end of October.

In addition to the public health immunization campaign, the public may also choose to receive their immunization from participating physician/nurse practitioner offices and pharmacies.  Please speak with your physician, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist to inquire about their offering of influenza immunizations.

For more information regarding the dates and locations of the 2015 seasonal influenza immunization clinics in your community please refer to the flu clinic calendar that is being sent to household mailboxes throughout the region.  Additional influenza and immunization information can be found on the health region’s influenza webpage and social media networks.  A phone information line has been established (306-778-5128) and will be regularly updated with clinic details.  You may also speak to your family physician or call the provincial HealthLine at 8-1-1.

Prevention Encouraged due to Increased Influenza Activity in Area

As the holiday season draws closer, the Cypress Health Region would like to advise the public that there are increasing incidences of influenza and other respiratory illness moving through the communities in the health region and province. The influenza season will last several months with a number of influenza strains circulating, and there are specific strains that will predominate at any particular time.

“Immunization is the most effective measure to prevent influenza,” says Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region. “Additional preventative measures include frequent and effective handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home will feeling ill.”

Dr. Torr acknowledged the efforts of health providers during the initial phases of the influenza season. “Our public health nursing team and physician clinics have done a terrific job of providing immunizations across the health region,” added Dr. Torr. “Drop in clinics and appointments are still available. The annual immunization provides protection for the individual receiving it, but also provides an indirect benefit for family, friends, and co-workers.”

The remaining December drop-in clinic is scheduled for Friday, December 19th at the E.I. Wood Building in Swift Current. A number of additional drop-in clinic dates have just been confirmed for Swift Current in the new year and are available free of charge. A list of these and other clinic opportunities are available by visiting the Influenza page.

Dr. Torr applauded the understanding of the general public, visitors to facilities, and staff members in relation to the provincial implementation of the ‘immunize or mask’ policy in health care facilities and offices where patient care is being provided. The expectations of the policy are for anyone who has made the choice not to be immunized for influenza this fall will be expected to wear a procedure mask during the influenza season. Masks, handwashing stations, and/or sanitizing hand gel are available at the front entrance of all health region facilities.

“The policy applies to staff, physicians, visitors, general public, volunteers, vendors, and others who are within our facilities,” said Dr. Torr. “Our staff have had the option to receive their immunization this fall or mask while in patient areas, and we are strongly emphasizing that visitors wear a mask while in our facilities if they have not received their immunization. This will play a major role in reducing the risk of illness spread into, and out of, our patient care areas.”

As of December 16th statistics, 82% of the health region’s staff have received their influenza immunization. Dr. Torr is anticipating that it will make a difference in the protection of patients, residents and clients within the region’s facilities over the winter months. Meanwhile, current statistics show that approximately 30% of the public have received their immunization.

For more information on influenza, upcoming public health nursing immunization clinics, and available resources, please visit the influenza page.

Outbreak Rescinded at Cypress Lodge Nursing Home

The influenza outbreak situation at the Cypress Lodge in Maple Creek has been declared over, under the guidance of Consulting Medical Health Officer, Dr. David Torr.

At the highest peak, 22 long term care residents were identified with signs and symptoms of the illness. As of Tuesday, December 2, zero residents are experiencing similar issues and thus, the outbreak was deemed to be over.

As a result of the outbreak being rescinded, all visitation can return to normal, effective immediately. The region would like to extend its appreciation to the residents’ families for their patience and understanding during the period of the outbreak.

The health region would like to commend the staff of Cypress Lodge for their efforts in quickly addressing the additional cleaning requirements associated with an outbreak and for their isolation of residents, all of which helped to prevent the further spread of the illness. The staff will be continuing their enhanced cleaning efforts into the near future to prevent any re-introduction of the illness within the facility.

Please note that the Wellness Clinic scheduled for Wednesday, December 3 from 9am-12pm in Maple Creek has been rescheduled to Wednesday, December 10.

Visitors to Health Care Facilities Expected to Immunize or Mask

The immunize or mask policy is now in effect in the Cypress Health Region.

Emphasizing public, patient and staff safety, all visitors and members of the public are expected to wear a mask when entering Cypress Health Region facilities and sites where patient care and services are provided, unless they have received their influenza immunization this fall.

Effective as of November 26, 2014 anyone who has made the choice not to be immunized this fall against influenza (the flu) will be expected to wear a surgical/procedure mask in patient care and service locations until the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan declares influenza season as over. Masks will be available at all facilities for visitors to utilize, along with gel hand sanitizer for further protection.

The requirement to be immunized or wear a mask is part of a new province-wide ‘Influenza Immunize or Mask Policy’ in effect in all Saskatchewan health regions and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. It applies to all health care staff and members of the public who come into hospitals, long term care facilities, primary health care sites, public health locations, and other sites where health programs and services are accessed. It includes common areas in these facilities such as hallways, lobbies, and waiting rooms. As well, patient/resident rooms, wards, units, departments and other areas where health care is provided.

All Cypress Health employees and other health professionals including physicians were offered the choice to receive their influenza immunization or be required to wear a mask while in patient care areas during the provincially declared influenza season.

Visitors, including volunteers, students, vendors, and contractors, are also expected to wear a mask if they have not received their influenza immunization.

The policy also applies in community settings where Cypress Health staff delivers services to patients or clients in their homes. In addition, public locations such as Wellness Clinics are included in the policy.

“The objective of the annual influenza prevention campaign is to optimize the health and safety of everyone,” said Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region. “Getting your immunization every year is the most effective way to guard against the effects of influenza, but the other measures are very supportive to the overall goals of the program.”

Dr. Torr added that there are still opportunities available for the general public and Cypress Health staff members to get their annual influenza immunization. “There are a number of drop-in clinics available through the region’s public health nursing offices, and we would like to see a higher number of people choosing this best option to protect themselves, their families, and others around them.”

Over 13,000 influenza immunizations have been provided through the region’s public and employee health nursing programs this year. This accounts for an approximate total of 29% of the general public living in the region. The most recent statistics have identified that 73% of the region’s staff have been vaccinated against the flu and with the remaining available drop-in clinic options, that percentage is anticipated to increase.

Additional information about the location and dates of the remaining drop-in influenza clinics is available by visiting the health region’s website.  Flu shots are also available at some medical clinics and pharmacies.

Seasonal Influenza Immunizations

Influenza season is approaching and the Cypress Health Region is encouraging the public to get their flu shot this fall and to do so early in the season to ensure they have access to vaccine.

During last year’s influenza season, public uptake of vaccine during the mass immunization clinics was limited. As a result in early 2014 when influenza activity heightened measures needed to be taken to secure additional vaccine to immunize the public in a second wave of immunization clinics. This year that second opportunity will not be made available; therefore, it is as important as ever to get your immunization during one of the mass immunization clinics that will be available in various communities in October and November.

This year health regions throughout Saskatchewan are receiving pre-determined quantities of vaccine. Once these quantities are depleted there will not be additional vaccine available. This makes it important to receive your immunization early to guarantee your access to the vaccine.

Getting your flu shot has never been easier. The Cypress Health Region is providing additional evening and weekend flu clinics this season. In total more than 40 clinics will be available in 19 communities throughout the region.

Immunizations are free to the general public (those 6 months of age and older) and protect against the influenza virus which is easily spread through coughing, sneezing, and direct contact with nose and throat secretions. Influenza can result in hospitalization and death, especially in very young children, the elderly, and those with serious underlying health conditions. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever and chills, a cough, muscle aches, a headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose. Infected people can spread the virus on to others before they show any symptoms.

In 2014 the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will be making a limited quantity of FluMist nasal vaccinations available. Those aged 2-17 years of age may be eligible to receive this type of vaccine, which does not require a needle. More information on FluMist can be found at www.health.gov.sk.ca/FluMist. Details specific to the Cypress Health Region will be publicized closer to the start of the mass immunization clinics.

Influenza is a serious virus and is important to protect yourself against. This year, an immunize-or-mask policy will be followed in all health facilities throughout the province during flu season, which usually starts in November. It will require non-immunized staff to wear protective respiratory masks in patient care areas. Saskatchewan is the second province in Canada to implement such a policy (British Columbia did in 2013), placing utmost emphasis on patient safety. The policy could also impact visitors to facilities who may be asked to wear a mask if they have chosen not to receive an influenza immunization.