Ministry offers tool to stop spread
With the height of flu season yet to hit, BC ministry of health officials are reminding the public about measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Powell River’s chief medical officer is encouraging those who have not been vaccinated to do so.
The ministry of health operates a toll-free nurses line which people who have flu symptoms can phone for medical advice.
“If you have influenza, you can be highly infectious and an unnecessary visit to the emergency room, clinic or doctor’s office could be putting people at risk,” said a ministry spokesperson last week.
8.1.1 has been operated by HealthLink BC since 2008. It is a free-of-charge service and callers are able to discuss their symptoms with a registered nurse who can advise whether someone ill needs to visit their doctor or go to the hospital.
Dr. Paul Martiquet, chief medical officer for rural Vancouver Coastal Health, is still urging younger people to have their flu shot despite reports of vaccine shortages in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
“We’re not out of vaccine in Powell River,” said Martiquet. “We’ve still got some in stock.”
It takes two weeks for the vaccine to have its full effect, so the sooner the better, he said.
“We’re seeing influenza activity in Powell River, but so far we have not had any outbreaks in the long-term care facilities or the hospital,” he said, adding that people should continue to wash their hands and stay home if they feel sick.