In a telephone interview with City Councillor Joe Mihevc this morning, Digital Journal learned that Toronto is in good shape in terms of being prepared for a swine flu outbreak. The public health and hospitals in the city are all on high alert. There have been no reported cases in Ontario.
Toronto learned what to do and what not to do during the SARS outbreak.
“We have learned a lot from SARS. We are now one of the global leaders when it comes to outbreak preparedness,” Mihevc said. “We are now tracking the issue. Because we have known that we are due a major flu hit and in fact expecting on Ontario has a stockpile of Tamiflu. ”
Ontario is staying well informed and working with the CDC, WHO and Canada’s Center of Disease Control.
“Everything is in place. We have knew something like this was coming. We don’t know at this time if this is the ‘one’ but we are ready for it.”
So ready for it in fact that all of Toronto’s emergency service heads have been and are in meetings since the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico. On Monday the TTC will be meeting to discuss what to do in terms of the swine flu. The TTC is one of the few city transit departments that has a physician on retainer for these types of situations.
The TTC would be at the front lines of the swine flu if it does hit Toronto. Over a million and a half people use the service any given week.
Canada Health reports:
“The federal government will continue to monitor the situation closely to detect any illness as early as possible and ensure Canadians are protected. I have been in frequent contact with my counterparts in the provinces and territories. I’m having discussions regularly with our international partners, including the World Health Organization, officials from Health and Human Services in the United States, as well as the Mexican health minister,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “Although we are relieved to hear that the Canadians who have been diagnosed with swine influenza exhibited mild symptoms, we will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Health professionals in Ontario are on alert to screen patients for febrile respiratory illness and influenza like illness. All flu-like illnesses in patients that have a history of travel to Mexico or where a cluster of swine flu is to be reported to the local public health unit.
Patients that present with the about conditions should be given fit tested N95 respirators in clinical situations. Health care professionals are being advised to wear eye protection, gloves and gowns in dealing with such patients.
“Ontario is well-positioned to deal with this situation. We have a strong public health system in this province. I have the utmost confidence in the ability of public health professionals to manage any health issue that might arise.”
– David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care