First Nation H1N1 Situational Update

July 20, 2009

As of July 17, 2009, there are over 10,000 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 flu cases in Canada. Of these, 3636 have been in Ontario. Among First Nations on reserve, 60 confirmed cases have been reported in ten communities in Sioux Lookout Zone, eight communities in Thunder Bay zone and one community in Southern Zone.We remain dedicated to protecting the health of First Nations populations in Ontario. We are working with provincial authorities to ensure First Nations have equal access to care and treatment and that the unique considerations in our populations, such as geographic isolation and higher burden of chronic disease are taken into account. In addition:

– We are providing regular updates to health professionals on reserve about the management of cases and contacts of H1N1, infection prevention and control practices, and other public health guidance, including guidance for the prevention and management of H1N1 in summer camps.
– We are working with the zone offices and regional nursing to prepare for immunization campaigns for pneumococcal vaccine for those at high risk over the summer months and for seasonal influenza and the H1N1 virus in the fall.
– We continue to participate in regular teleconferences with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion to discuss areas of collaboration and to obtain expert scientific advice.
– We have set up a First Nations H1N1 flu information line (1-877-365-3623) to address community questions or concerns on H1N1. Hours of operation are from 9am to 6pm EST, 7 days a week.
– We have been holding regular teleconferences with communities by zone to provide situation updates and answer questions.
– We continue to post the latest information on the H1N1 flu pandemic on the First Nations pandemic website:
– We will continue to provide assistance to communities with pandemic planning over the summer months. An additional pandemic planner hired by the Union of Ontario Indians is providing further assistance to all First Nations communities in Ontario with pandemic planning.

We continue to recommend that individuals practice frequent hand-washing and proper respiratory etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your arm or sleeve. If others are sick with flu like symptoms you should try and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) away from them. If you are sick with flu like symptoms, please contact your health care provider for further guidance.

If communities require assistance with their pandemic plans or business continuity plans they should contact Dr. Geoff Dunkley at 613-954-2408.

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