Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital takes firm hand on H1N1

Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital has hired a pandemic coordinator to prepare for an H1N1 outbreak.

“We have a full-time person devoted to the project,” says Trisha Root, the hospital’s director of infection control. The coordinator is working with designated staff to discuss strategies to help them be prepared in case the virus hits home.

Trisha Root, director of infection control at Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, talks about hiring a pandemic coordinator to help prepare for a possible H1N1 outbreak.

Trisha Root, director of infection control at Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, talks about hiring a pandemic coordinator to help prepare for a possible H1N1 outbreak.

If there’s a sudden rush in the emergency department, the staff will separate patients with flu-like symptoms from others. Patients displaying flu-like symptoms are generally not allowed entry into the hospital through the emergency department, Root says.

“We’re taking a proactive approach in keeping the possible flu victims away from the general emergency people,” says Root.

So far Centenary has had one query into a possible infection of the virus but no documented cases.

Most hospitals in the city, including the Rouge Valley Health System, are not offering either the flu shot or the H1N1 vaccine to the general public, Root adds.

“There will be clinics set up once the H1N1 vaccine is delivered, about six to eight throughout the GTA.”

People also have to take extra care if they become sick, Root says.

“The big message is certainly if you feel like you’ve got flu-like symptoms, you should stay home,” she says. “You’re most contagious at this early stage. Get plenty of rest, nutrition, and fluids.”

Root stresses the extreme importance of hand hygiene and of staying away from large crowds if possible. She says children and people under 65, especially people in their 20s and 30s, are more prone to the infection.

The Scarborough Civic Centre will host a flu vaccination clinic for people 65 and older on Oct. 23, Oct. 29, and Oct. 31. The H1N1 vaccine will be available at that location in November. Patients must wait a minimum 21 days between receiving their seasonal flu shots and the H1N1 vaccine.

The City of Toronto website offers a complete list of approved clinics that will offer the H1N1 vaccine to the public.