Public Health extends flu clinic hours

UPDATE: Guelph 12-year-old identified as one of two local kids killed by flu

Two Guelph area children have died from the flu.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a report dated January 27 there have been five lab-confirmed flu-related deaths among children so far this season.

Later the same day, Public Health confirmed flu was to blame for the second death.

Janice Walters, Manager of Control of Infectious Diseases for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says the second case now under investigation is unrelated to the Pollard, adding the children had no contact with each other during the virus' incubation time.

In a press release sent out on Saturday, they do confirm the two deaths to be related to the Influenza virus, but although the two children attended the same school they say there is insufficient evidence to say the two are related.

A coroner's report later confirmed the girl's death was the result of influenza B.

Although parents at Westminster Woods Public School say the kids both attended that school, public health officials say there is no indication that the virus was passed from one student to the other.

"It is a tragedy for this community that two children died from the flu", said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of WDG Public Health in a release.

In the wake of the deaths, Public Health has renewed its call for people to go get immunized, and has extended clinic hours on Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10 to encourage more families to get the flu shot. "In the last week, we have seen the highest number of new cases as well as the highest school absenteeism this season".

In a statement to 570NEWS, Pollard confirms Layna had not received a flu shot, but suggests the flu shot wouldn't have made a difference in saving his daughter's life.

Phone lines will be open Friday till 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m until 2 p.m.

This year's flu vaccine is considered 10 to 20 per cent effective against the H3N2 strain, and 55 per cent effective at preventing this year's dominant influenza B strain. At its Fergus and Orangeville locations, clinic hours will be Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 2 p.m. It is available through pharmacies, health care providers and public health clinics.

Pregnant women, young children and the elderly are among those most at risk of complications related to the flu, Ferguson said. Doctors had said there was nothing they could do.

Friday: 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.



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