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Alberta is Prepared for H1N1

Just wanted to take a moment and post this article from today in the Clagary Herald.  The article details some of the step that the Alberta government has done to preempt any potential outbreak of the flu.  With school back in session, it is expected that the virus now has the potential to spread more rapidly on campuses.

 

I know this is a deviation from my usual content specifically regarding Lethbridge Real Estate and Lethbridge Mortgage Broker, but it is an important topic and demonstrates that the province of Alberta is one of the most progressive and well governed in the world.

 

FORT SASKATCHEWAN - Alberta Health Services is prepared to go over-budget to ensure patients get the care they need when the expected H1N1 flu pandemic hits this fall, said the boss of the province’s health region.

“Depending on its severity, we may need to alter our current budget strategies for reducing costs in the health-care system in order to ensure we are fully prepared to deal with the pandemic,” said CEO and president Stephen Duckett during a speech to the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

He spent $3.9 million to boost its current batch of 400 ventilators with 106 more for Albertans in anticipation of a pandemic that is expected to hit intensive-care units particularly hard, filling them with patients with serious respiratory conditions who need mechanical help to breathe.

The new ventilators will begin arriving later this month with the final units expected by mid-October.

“We’ll release the ventilators where needed,” Duckett said.

Although the price tag was $2 million lower than expected — the province negotiated a three-year provincewide contract, and used money from pre-existing project equipment budgets — Duckett said he’s prepared to spend more if the situation requires.

That, despite the health system’s current penny-pinching endeavour as it faces a $1-billion deficit. It wants to find three-per-cent savings by offering early-retirement packages to nurses and other health-care workers, as well as having its long-term care and Catholic hospital partners find ways to cut back.

“Alberta Health Services is committed to taking swift action (against the H1N1 pandemic) to successfully address the variety of current and future risks facing our province,” Duckett said. A provincewide series of presentations is beginning in northern Alberta, where doctors and experts will provide advice to schools, municipalities and businesses on how to approach the pandemic emergency.

“We will also explore the option of scaling back non-essential work, for example, by delaying elective surgery to free up staff and resources to handle H1N1 cases,” Duckett said, noting he gets updates on the situation every Tuesday.

Duckett said he recently talked with people in the Australian state of Victoria, which has about 20 per cent more people than Alberta and has already seen the flu’s winter escalation. It needed to create another 10 to 20 beds in intensive care to accommodate the patient crunch.

“Although the admissions to hospitals are roughly the same as ordinary flu, the admissions to ICU intensive-care units are much greater and so we’re preparing just in case the same happens here,” Duckett said. Hospital stays also tend to be longer with this flu strain. “We might need to rapidly expand our intensive care capacity.”

Dr. Gerry Predy, medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services, said the regular flu strain typically makes five to 10 per cent of the population sick. He said he expects 15 to 20 per cent of people will get sick when the second H1N1 wave hits this fall, since few have built up immunity. In the end, he said up to 35 per cent of the population could get sick over the flu season.

jsinnema@thejournal.canwest.com

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Robert W May is a Real Estate Broker in Lethbridge Alberta, having now been in the industry for over 23 years. . He was also a licensed Lethbridge mortgage broker and financing expert with Canada First Mortgage of Calgary Alberta for the past 10 years.  He is an industry leader always willing to help train and educate others in how to improve their business models for financial and personal benefit.




 

 

Comment balloon 3 commentsRobert May • September 02 2009 07:41PM
Alberta is Prepared for H1N1
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Just wanted to take a moment and post this article from today in the Clagary Herald. The article details some of the step that the Alberta government has done to preempt any potential outbreak of the flu. With school back in session, it is… more
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