Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is taking steps to reduce the risk of flu exposure at local hospitals. MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela says nearly 80 per cent of staff has gotten their flu shot, and unimmunized staff will be taking extra steps to avoid infection, like wearing a mask. MAHC is also continuing its surveillance for influenza; that includes screening patients at patient registration and in the emergency department for flu-like symptoms. Anyone with a sudden fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and muscle pain must wear a mask.

Bubela says if you have flu-like symptoms, or are just feeling unwell, stay home. Get lots of rest and drink clear fluids. If you’re visiting someone in the hospital, wash your hands when entering and leaving a patient room and the building.

These extra precautions come on the heels of a declaration of widespread influenza in the area by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. That declaration means healthcare organizations are required to implement strategies to control the spread of the virus. The health unit says we are at, or near, the peak of flu season in the area which could last anywhere from two to four weeks. As of January 16th, the health unit had 247 lab-confirmed cases of the flu.

Health unit declaring widespread flu in the area