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Brace for more H1N1 deaths, Canada's top doctor warns

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  • pinesunderpar
    Re: Brace for more H1N1 deaths, Canada's top doctor warns

    I just love how they have been telling us since April that everything will be fine "we had SARS and are therefore well prepared for H1N1" was the standard story. "Since the vaccine is produced right here in Canada we will have plenty for everyone in plenty of time before the second wave hits", the other standard story. Lulled us right into complacency. Look where we are today. We don't even have enough vaccine to vaccinate our children, and the real scary part is all the new hospitalizations and new ICU patients with H1N1. Seem several hospitals are very strained already caring for the sick. We have lived a long time believing that if we get seriously sick we go to the hospital and they will look after us, but if more and more people require hospitalization and maybe a respirator we will probably run out of both beds and machines. What then?

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  • Treyfish
    started a topic Brace for more H1N1 deaths, Canada's top doctor warns

    Brace for more H1N1 deaths, Canada's top doctor warns

    By Michelle Lang, with files from Renata D'Aliesio and Canwest News Service, Calgary Herald
    November 6, 2009
    CALGARY - As Alberta reported four more deaths related to H1N1 on Thursday, the country's top doctor said hospitalizations and intensive-care unit admissions from the new flu strain have tripled across Canada since last week.

    Two elderly Albertans and two middle-aged people with H1N1 influenza died this week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths in this province to 18 since the virus first appeared in the spring.

    Health officials -- who relaunched swine flu vaccination clinics for high-risk patients Thursday -- said one of the victims was from Calgary.

    "Given the amount of influenza that's circulating in the community, having four deaths this week is not unexpected," said Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services.

    "It is tragic," said Predy. "It's unfortunate when anyone dies. Even during seasonal influenza, when we get to this level of activity, we do see deaths."

    At least three of the victims had risk factors that predisposed them to developing serious disease from the flu.

    Chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said Canadians should be prepared to hear about more swine flu deaths as the H1N1 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing.

    On the contrary, the spread of the H1N1 virus picked up speed over the past week and its prevalence is nearing levels that were seen at the peak of the first wave in June, he said.

    "We expect to hear of more illness and deaths in the coming weeks as we go further into the second wave," said Butler-Jones.

    In total, 115 Canadians with H1N1 have died, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    In Alberta, Predy said about 70 people with H1N1 are in hospital intensive-care units. A total of 439 Albertans have been hospitalized with the virus since the spring.

    The four latest deaths included one person from Calgary, one from Edmonton, one from southern Alberta and one from central Alberta.

    In Ontario, this week's toll is believed to include a two-month-old baby from London.

    News of the deaths comes as Alberta restarted its stalled H1N1 immunization program Thursday.

    Last week's program was criticized for multi-hour lineups and for allowing low-risk Albertans to receive the vaccine before concerns about supply forced health officials to suspend the clinics on the weekend.

    However, at the six clinics in Calgary on Thursday, queues were substantially shorter than last week. Those who faced longer waits were given wristbands and told to come back at a specific time.

    "It was only 45 minutes to get a shot," said Megan Zilkey, who brought her one-year-old son to the new Stampede grandstand site.

    "Last week was chaos. . . . They should have had some sort of plan from the beginning."

    At the Whitehorn EMS station, Brenda Else said the wait was manageable, at less than one hour.

    "It's a far cry better than last week," said the mother of two.

    The clinics were restricted to children who are less than five years old as of Nov. 1. Infants must also be older than six months of age.

    Today, as the first shipments of non-adjuvanted vaccine arrive in the province, the clinics will open to pregnant women.

    Alberta's H1N1 vaccination program was a point of debate in the legislature again Thursday as the NDP criticized the government for opening its flu-shot clinics to all Albertans last week, instead of focusing only on high-risk people.

    "The chaos and confusion surrounding the entire vaccination program ultimately comes down to a total failure of leadership at the highest level," said NDP Leader Brian Mason.

    But Health Minister Ron Liepert, who has said the program has been a success, said he's not dwelling on what happened.

    "Hindsight is great," said Liepert, speaking to reporters in Calgary. "I'm going to dwell on what it is we need to do to get those persons vaccinated with the limited supply we have now."

    Controversy also continued to swirl Thursday around Alberta Health Services' decision to fire a mid-level manager who helped the Calgary Flames jump the queue for H1N1 flu vaccinations last week.