Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another update H1N1

At the press conference yesterday Manitoba confirmed 27 new cases of H1N1.
Few details were provided regarding the areas of the province where the new cases were reported, other than that two of the three new cases are from two First Nations communities in the Burntwood health region.

I have been told by folks at Island Lake First Nation that they are the second First Nation commuity mentioned.

This tidbit from the Winnipeg Free Press regarding a worried neighbouring community where there's been no outbreak yet.
While public health officials have been bracing for additional cases since swine flu incited a worldwide pandemic scare in April, the latest cases have some communities worried they aren't ready for an outbreak.

Red Sucker Lake Chief Larry Knott is watching the outbreak of respiratory illness in St. Theresa Point closely, and said he worries his community won't be able to heed much of the preventative advice from public health practitioners. Handwashing is key to preventing the spread of influenza, but Knott said many residents don't have running water and must get fresh water in a pail from the lake. First Nations leaders have warned crowded homes and impoverished conditions leave reserves inadequately equipped to deal with a widespread disease outbreak. Red Sucker Lake is about 100 kilometres north of St. Theresa Point. "If it hits us, I'm pretty sure it'll hit us pretty hard," Knott said.

Here's a good update from the Tyee.

Manitoba Health won't say if First Nations reserve has swine flu
By Crawford Kilian June 3, 2009 08:40 pm

A remote First Nations reserve in northeast Manitoba may be at the centre of the next pandemic. But Manitoba Health won't tell them what's going on. On Tuesday, the Ottawa Citizen reported in passing that the St. Theresa Point First Nation had sent seven persons by medevac to Winnipeg, 500 kilometres to the southwest. Two of the patients were pregnant, and one lost her child soon after. By Wednesday night, 20 reserve residents had been flown out, and Manitoba Health finally released a statement: Manitoba Health and Healthy Living is reporting 27 new confirmed H1N1 cases in people between the ages of one month and 56 years, bringing the provincial total to 38 cases in six regions across Manitoba.

Of the new cases, three patients have been hospitalized. Thirteen of the new confirmed cases were in males and 14 in females. The three new confirmed cases in the Burntwood region are from two First Nation communities. Burntwood covers St. Theresa Point, but MH did not identify the First Nations communities with H1N1 cases.
When The Tyee contacted Chief David McDougall on Wednesday afternoon, he said he had had no official news about the cases, only rumours. When The Tyee called again on Wednesday night, Chief McDougall said he had heard -- not from Manitoba Health -- that the two Burntwood cases were indeed from St. Theresa Point. "This contravenes how First Nations people should be treated," he said.

He added that the mother of a 10-month-old child with suspected H1N1 had not been told clearly what her daughter's problem was. "She's not familiar with medical terminology," Chief McDougall said. By 10 p.m. Manitoba time, Chief McDougall said, he still didn't have official confirmation about the two cases, not to mention the other 18 who have been flown out to Winnipeg. He said he plans to hold a press conference in the morning.

Meanwhile, CBC reported on Wednesday that two paramedics had been flown into St. Theresa Point without being alerted to the possible illness of the patients they were to look after. After returning to Winnipeg, the paramedics went on to look after other patients. CBC said the paramedics were now off duty and awaiting test results.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

Other posts on this topic:
June 10: No Doctors, No Nurses, but emergency hand sanitizer is on its way


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