Thirty-four more people admitted

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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High-risk flu criteria broadened again

Thirty-four more people were admitted to hospitals in the province between Monday and Tuesday with respiratory infections, suspected to be from the H1N1 flu virus.

Dr. Faith Stratton, the province's chief medical officer of health, said these latest admissions took place over a 24-hour-period from 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The province's chief medical officer of health Dr. Faith Stratton and Health Minister Jerome Kennedy update the media on how the H1N1 outbreak is being handled Tuesday in St. John's. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Thirty-four more people were admitted to hospitals in the province between Monday and Tuesday with respiratory infections, suspected to be from the H1N1 flu virus.

Dr. Faith Stratton, the province's chief medical officer of health, said these latest admissions took place over a 24-hour-period from 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The total number of patients being treated in hospital for respiratory illnesses Tuesday was 84, including nine in intensive care units (ICUs) and five on ventilators to assist with their breathing.

Stratton said the patients on ventilators and in ICUs are mostly in western, central and northern regions, with one in the eastern region.

She said most patients admitted to hospital over the last couple of weeks with confirmed H1N1 influenza have been between 15 and 45 years of age, the young adult and middle adult age groups.

"The ones in ICU are the middle age group," Stratton said.

The province, meanwhile, announced plans Tuesday to expand the priority groups for the H1N1 vaccine, beginning Thursday.

The groups added are:

Hospital in-patients under 65 years of age with one or more chronic health conditions;

School-aged children from Kindergarten to Grade 3;

Individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cystic fibrosis;

Individuals undergoing active cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation;

Transplant patients, including pre-transplant patients on a wait list and directed by their physician to receive the vaccine and post-transplant patients in the last two years.

To be eligible for vaccinations, patients with chronic illnesses will be required to show proof of active treatment, such as prescriptions, labelled medications or insurance forms.

Kennedy said if individuals who fit into these categories are unable to be vaccinated due to the limited supply of vaccine this week, they will be prioritized for vaccination following next week's vaccine shipment.

He said the province will receive 7,500 doses of vaccine this week, and believes that will have enough to begin vaccinating this expanded group, considering school children under 10 years of age are only given half a dose of vaccine.

The minister said the province is slowly starting to move into the group of people under 65 years of age with chronic conditions. It's estimated that there are about 100,000 people between 25 and 65 years of age in the province in this category.

Kennedy asked that the public be patient. "We're trying to do the best we can to balance the high risk groups with the availability or limited availability of the vaccine we have," he said.

Kennedy said he has a stack of e-mails at his office from people pleading with him to address their individual cases.

"It's tough on me reading these e-mails but, at the end of the day, we have to set parameters and guidelines," he said.

He said some doctors have said they can help by vaccinating patients in their offices, but again with a limited supply of the vaccine, the province can't leave it to individual doctors to determine who can be vaccinated.

"The difficulty, as you see here today, is that as a minister or as a regional health authority, you can't choose individual cases. So, what we're trying to deal with are groups. We're trying to logically and systematically move our way through the groups and primary school-aged children. Hopefully next week we can move into elementary school- aged children," Kennedy said.

Stratton said the next batch of 7,500 vaccines for the province was expected to arrive in St. John's on a early flight this morning.

She said unadjuvanted vaccines for pregnant women have been sent out to the health districts throughout the province and those immunizations should also be possible this week.

Kennedy couldn't say Tuesday how much vaccine the province will receive next week. He said more information on that should be known around the end of this week.

dss@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: ICUs, St. John's

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Manuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Well what do you idiots expect. You people get sick and instead of staying home til your better, you all go to work and out running your lives as usual. This is how the virus has spread and it wont stop til these idiots stay at home and wait for the virus to leave your system. That would be commom sense and seems not to be required by the general public.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Boy, is this story starting to get old. Unless you are one of the handful of uneducated new mothers that can't be bothered with the flu facts and can panic easily, nobody cares.
    Let's move on shall we?

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Well when the Chief Medical officer for St. John's is playing the bag pipes for the Royals during working hours while people are stressed out over the H1N1 delivery of the vaccine you have to shake your head

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I think the media is just as confused as the public when it comes to reporting this crawling, sometimes deadly virus. There are 30 deaths in Ontario alone and that is not counting the number of admissions to hospital who are very ill.

    All levels of government have boggled this time in getting the best care and service available to people in a time of a national security and crisis, when it comes to this H1N1 Flu.
    You cannot blame it on the health care workers. You have to blame it on the government officials who sit and drink their coffee every morning with their feet upon their desk and read the sports news. Remember, they own the The Government Healthcare Departments and you have to answer to them and not vice versa. They need to get off their butts and start working for the people of this country. Like many politicians they are waiting for that pension cheque!

    Frank M.Blackwood

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I wonder how many of the people admitted were not from the 'high risk' group? I think its totally ridiculous that the country is low on supply of this vaccination. Jerome shouldn't expect any less from the public, after all he is the minister in charge. Not too long ago, when Kennedy took over as health minister he was quoted saying

    But I can tell you, at least so far in government, it hasn't been as stressful as the job that I did before. When you're representing people whose lives are on the line in murder cases, that's real stress. The stress I feel here is one of a duty to the public, trying to do the best I can.

    Enough said

  • brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Don't be a nit Tim. I know Dr. A and he has put in more free time this past year preparing for this pandemic than the likes of you probably work in a year. The fellow is entitled to a day off every now and then - wake up and get a life.

  • well
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    look number one , i refuse to line up like its 1930 for a shot, number two I have a serious heart condition , and ifi come down with it , and i lose the battle , this third world of a prov will pay dearly

  • JM
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    The government has about as much control over the allotments of vaccine as you or I do. It's the drug companies (or company in Canada's case) that is holding up the line. That's right, 1 company, with 1 production line making the x-amount of millions of vaccines required for the country. If people are going to b1tch and harp, why don't you direct it at the source of the problem. Otherwise, wash your hands, stay indoors, start home schooling your kids and dump the paranoia to the curb.

  • Blown up
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    ....suspected to be from the H1N1 flu virus. PEOPLE START REPORTING FACTS!!!!!!!

    How can you report something is you do not know its true!!! The media is absolutly brutle!!!

  • gaffer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Frank Blackwood from Richmond Hill Ont. The population of Ontario is 11,410,046 and they already have 30 death's. I wonder how many people died with cancer,the regular flu,or some other disease in the same time frame???? Youtalkaboutparonoia and stressingpeopleout Give the health care worker's a break and let them do their job. Cooler head's should prevail.

  • Manuel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Well what do you idiots expect. You people get sick and instead of staying home til your better, you all go to work and out running your lives as usual. This is how the virus has spread and it wont stop til these idiots stay at home and wait for the virus to leave your system. That would be commom sense and seems not to be required by the general public.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Boy, is this story starting to get old. Unless you are one of the handful of uneducated new mothers that can't be bothered with the flu facts and can panic easily, nobody cares.
    Let's move on shall we?

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Well when the Chief Medical officer for St. John's is playing the bag pipes for the Royals during working hours while people are stressed out over the H1N1 delivery of the vaccine you have to shake your head

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I think the media is just as confused as the public when it comes to reporting this crawling, sometimes deadly virus. There are 30 deaths in Ontario alone and that is not counting the number of admissions to hospital who are very ill.

    All levels of government have boggled this time in getting the best care and service available to people in a time of a national security and crisis, when it comes to this H1N1 Flu.
    You cannot blame it on the health care workers. You have to blame it on the government officials who sit and drink their coffee every morning with their feet upon their desk and read the sports news. Remember, they own the The Government Healthcare Departments and you have to answer to them and not vice versa. They need to get off their butts and start working for the people of this country. Like many politicians they are waiting for that pension cheque!

    Frank M.Blackwood

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    I wonder how many of the people admitted were not from the 'high risk' group? I think its totally ridiculous that the country is low on supply of this vaccination. Jerome shouldn't expect any less from the public, after all he is the minister in charge. Not too long ago, when Kennedy took over as health minister he was quoted saying

    But I can tell you, at least so far in government, it hasn't been as stressful as the job that I did before. When you're representing people whose lives are on the line in murder cases, that's real stress. The stress I feel here is one of a duty to the public, trying to do the best I can.

    Enough said

  • brian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Don't be a nit Tim. I know Dr. A and he has put in more free time this past year preparing for this pandemic than the likes of you probably work in a year. The fellow is entitled to a day off every now and then - wake up and get a life.

  • well
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    look number one , i refuse to line up like its 1930 for a shot, number two I have a serious heart condition , and ifi come down with it , and i lose the battle , this third world of a prov will pay dearly

  • JM
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    The government has about as much control over the allotments of vaccine as you or I do. It's the drug companies (or company in Canada's case) that is holding up the line. That's right, 1 company, with 1 production line making the x-amount of millions of vaccines required for the country. If people are going to b1tch and harp, why don't you direct it at the source of the problem. Otherwise, wash your hands, stay indoors, start home schooling your kids and dump the paranoia to the curb.

  • Blown up
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    ....suspected to be from the H1N1 flu virus. PEOPLE START REPORTING FACTS!!!!!!!

    How can you report something is you do not know its true!!! The media is absolutly brutle!!!

  • gaffer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Frank Blackwood from Richmond Hill Ont. The population of Ontario is 11,410,046 and they already have 30 death's. I wonder how many people died with cancer,the regular flu,or some other disease in the same time frame???? Youtalkaboutparonoia and stressingpeopleout Give the health care worker's a break and let them do their job. Cooler head's should prevail.