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Public Health extends additional flu clinics as hospital sees additional children come through Emergency Department

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided extra vaccines
20180210 flu clinic 1
A flu shot clinic at Public Health's head office Saturday drew hundreds of people. Tony Saxon/Guelphtoday

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided additional flu vaccines and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has opened additional clinics this week after confirming that the two reported deaths of children have been influenza B deaths.

Guelph General Hospital is seeing a number of young people being brought to the Emergency Department after last week’s disclosure by Public Health that two children have died from flu in recent weeks.

“We are seeing lots of kids being brought in with flu-like symptoms and other illnesses,” said Dr. Ian Digby, chief of emergency medicine at Guelph General Hospital.

Emergency Department volumes at Guelph General Hospital are up only slightly over where they were last year, said Perry Hagerman

Patients should expect delays and longer-than-normal wait times if coming to the Emergency Department, said Kim Crawford, director of emergency medicine at Guelph General Hospital.

“If you have a new or worse cough or shortness of breath, put on a mask and use hand sanitizer when you arrive in the department. If you are feeling feverish, tell the receptionist or nurse right away,”  said Crawford.

Additional flu immunization clinics have been added this week at Public Health’s Guelph location on Chancellor’s Way, as well as in Fergus and Orangeville.

The Guelph clinics will be held Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 6:30 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Additionally, clinics will be held at Public Health’s Fergus location on Tuesday to Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

On Saturday, hundreds attended a flu immunization clinic at Public Health’s Guelph location.

Both children who died were students at Westminster Woods Public School in the city’s south end, but Public Health said that does not mean there is an issue particular to that school.

The flu vaccine is the best defence against getting the flu, said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of WDG Public Health.

“It is a tragedy for this community that two children died from the flu,” said Mercer. “It is important for parents to know that there is not a greater risk of contracting the flu at any particular location. It is circulating throughout our community.”

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided extra vaccines, said Mercer.