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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Issues Influenza Outbreak Measures

Chatham-Kent: January 5, 2018 -- In keeping with hospital infection control policies, and as a precautionary measure, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), in consultation with the Public Health Unit of Chatham-Kent Health, is putting immediate restrictions in place for patients on Medicine Unit B and Complex Continuing Care, 4th Floor at CKHA’s Chatham campus.  Several patients and staff have tested positive for Influenza A, commonly known as the flu.  Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue.

To assist in preventing further transmission, the hospital is asking anyone who is not feeling well, particularly with influenza-like symptoms to not visit patients at the hospital at this time.  In addition, anyone  visiting patients who may have  influenza will be  required to wear a hospital-provided mask, gown, and gloves. Further, no children under 12 can visit the compromised units for their own safety and that of patients and staff.    

Visitors are asked when entering and exiting the hospital to use the main entrance only.  The Emergency Department entrance is designated only for those seeking emergency services. Visitors will be asked to wash their hands upon entrance and exit at each of the patient/visitor entrances.  All Hospital services are offered as usual in other areas of the hospital.  CKHA’s Emergency Departments will continue to screen patients for influenza like symptoms upon arrival.   Out-Patient Clinics and elective services also remain functional.

Lori Marshall, President and CEO stated, “As influenza activity continues to increase in our community, it is important to remind everyone to take preventative measures against contracting influenza such as washing hands frequently in soap and warm water, cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand and it’s not too late to still get your annual flu shot.” 

For those who develop flu, they are infectious 1-3 days before symptoms start, and remain infectious until 5 days after the onset of symptoms. Marshall adds, “This type of outbreak is not uncommon at this time of year.  The precautions we are taking are in response to  a cluster of patients experiencing these types of symptoms, and our staff and physicians are implementing various strategies to  decrease the chances of others becoming ill.”

This situation will be reassessed daily and a decision whether to lift restrictions will be made, at which time further communications will be issued.  

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For more information please contact:
Fannie Vavoulis
Director, Chief Communications and Community Engagement
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
Work (519) 352-6400   ext. 6143
fvavoulis [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca

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Chatham, ON N7M 5L9

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