Category Archives: Canada

Ontario | Patient at The Ottawa Hospital under investigation for Ebola virus disease

A patient at The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus is undergoing tests for the Ebola virus disease. The patient, who had recently visited a West African country where Ebola has been reported, arrived at the hospital yesterday. In keeping with recommended infection prevention and control practices, the patient was immediately placed in isolation until the source of the illness can be identified. 

To protect patient confidentiality, no information about the patient’s age or gender can be disclosed. The patient is currently doing well and is being kept at The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus for observation. Specimens from the patient have been sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for testing, with results expected by later today.

“All necessary precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of other patients, visitors and hospital staff. Strict infection prevention and control measures in Ontario hospitals means the risk of Ebola to other patients and health care workers is minimal,” said Dr. Jonathan Angel, Infectious Disease Specialist at The Ottawa Hospital.

“It’s important for the public to know that Ebola virus disease spreads only through direct contact with infected bodily fluids. It is not an airborne infection and cannot be spread through casual contact,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. “This patient under investigation for possible Ebola virus disease has demonstrated that the processes that have been put in place by local hospitals, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and other public health agencies including Ottawa Public Health are being followed.”

Ebola virus disease is a severe disease that causes haemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. In its late stages, this serious viral infection can cause internal and external bleeding which can lead to death. The current outbreak of Ebola is located in West African countries. To date, there have not been any documented cases of Ebola in Canada

For additional information on Ebola visit the following websites:

Further updates will be provided as they become available.

Additional information about Ebola virus disease is available at OttawaPublicHealth.ca or by calling Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.  You can also connect with Ottawa Public Health on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).

Alberta | Premier Prentice announces new Fort McMurray EMS helipad

A new helicopter landing pad in Fort McMurray will provide better access to emergency care for Albertans living and working in Wood Buffalo. 

The landing pad represents a $5.5 million investment into emergency medical services in the region. It will be located on top of the main tower of the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, with construction starting and finishing in 2015.

“Quick access to emergency care is important to Albertans. Fort McMurray has many residents living and working in remote areas and by locating this heliport at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre we can save precious transport time in getting critically ill or injured patients the care they need.” – Jim Prentice, Premier

Current air ambulance services in Fort McMurray operate out of the Fort McMurray International Airport, and patients are transported by ambulance from the airport to the hospital, a trip that can take up to 21 minutes. Locating the helipad at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre will reduce the time patients spend in transit.

“There is no question that this new helipad responds to an important need in our growing community, ensuring response times are meeting community needs.” – Don Scott, MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin

“A hospital emergency services helipad is a key component of ‎a time effective HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service). Local HERO Foundation is extremely pleased that we will now be able to reduce transport times by delivering patients directly to the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. This will save lives.” – Paul Spring, ‎President, Local HERO Foundation

There were over 100 medevac flights to the Fort McMurray airport in the last 12 months.

Manitoba | Travel history actively being requested of patients

Patients exhibiting symptoms that may be consistent with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and are arriving at any of Winnipeg’s six emergency rooms, calling for medical advice, or receiving care in the community should not be alarmed when asked to provide detailed information about any recent travel history to medical staff.

“We do not want patients or clients to be alarmed when asked for their travel history,” said Ms. Helen Clark, Chief Operating Officer for Emergency Response and Patient Transport with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).”Getting information about the travel history of patients showing symptoms consistent with EVD is critical information to help us assess health risk and determine the right course of response and treatment. This is also a recommended pre-screening step by the Public Health Agency of Canada.”

Winnipeg emergency rooms recorded over 285,000 visits last year. They remain a high-volume location that connects the public to the health system, and is the place where requesting and detailing travel history is most likely to be noticed by patients and the public.

“We want to emphasize that emergency departments and public health officials are not actively screening all patients for EVD,” said Ms. Clark.”Only patients presenting to emergency departments or to their primary care providers with symptoms possibly consistent with EVD should expect to be asked to provide information on their recent travel history to determine the right course of treatment and response.”

Initial symptoms of EVD may include fever, chills, muscle ache, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

“As the flu season approaches and flu-like symptoms begin to emerge, we do not want the public to be needlessly alarmed when they are asked about their travel history,” said Ms. Clark.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to say the public health risk in Canada due to EVD remains very low, although risk is greater for Canadians who provide medical care to EVD infected individuals as part of the response efforts in West Africa.

Despite the low risk, the WRHA is planning and preparing for the low probability a person with suspected EVD may at some point present to a health care provider within Canada or Winnipeg. The WRHA’s Public Health program, together with the Region’s Infection Prevention & Control and emergency medical services, are actively monitoring the EVD outbreak in consultation with PHAC and Manitoba Health.

Manitoba | Hero in polar bear attack honoured

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh and Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson  awarded one of Manitoba’s highest honours, the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, to Bill Ayotte, in recognition of his heroic intervention that saved the life of Erin Greene when she was attacked by a polar bear in Churchill on Nov. 1, 2013.

“The people of Churchill have learned to live with and respect polar bears but when he saw a young woman being attacked by a bear, Bill Ayotte reacted without hesitation and those actions saved her life,” said Minister Mackintosh.  “He risked his own life to save a neighbour and that courage should be recognized and rewarded.”

Early in the morning of Nov. 1, 2013, Ayotte heard the screams of a young woman being attacked by a polar bear outside his house.  Armed with only a shovel, he distracted the animal so she could get away.  Unfortunately, the bear turned on him and he suffered numerous injuries before natural resource officers and other residents could scare it away.

“This quick-thinking, selfless action saved Erin Greene’s life, while putting his own life in grave danger,” said Minister Robinson.  “We commend the heroic actions of Bill Ayotte and believe he is worthy of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt as well as our gratitude and admiration.”

In addition to the honour bestowed upon Ayotte, congratulations and gift presentations were made to the seven-member Polar Bear Alert team of natural resource officers, Churchill resident Didier Foubert-Allen, who helped with the rescue efforts, and Greene, who was mauled by the bear.

Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt was established in 1957.  The honour is bestowed by the province to individuals who demonstrate outstanding skills in the areas of leadership, service and community commitment.

Manitoba | Three cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in province

The Chief Provincial Public Health Officer advises three individuals have tested positive for enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in Manitoba.

EV-D68 is a type of virus that causes a range of illness.  EV-D68 is one of several circulating viruses most commonly found in the summer and fall.

The confirmation of cases in Manitoba is not unexpected, as cases have been laboratory-confirmed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Most of the time, healthy children are only mildly affected or may have no symptoms at all.

Respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or a runny nose are the most common with EV-D68.  It can also affect the lower respiratory tract, causing wheezing and shortness of breath.  Recently, several clusters of severe respiratory illness in hospitalized children due to EV-D68 infection have been found in the United States and Canada.

Certain children are at higher risk for more serious symptoms, such as those with asthma or other lung disorders. Children with a weaker immune system, such as those on medications that reduce the immune response like chemotherapy or steroids, may be more seriously affected.  Younger children, due to limited exposure to the virus, may also be more at risk.

This is not the first time that EV-D68 has been confirmed in Manitoba.  In 2009, approximately 20 individuals, mostly children, were infected with this virus.

To reduce the risk of an EV-D68 infection, Manitobans should regularly wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and use proper cough etiquette, such as coughing into the elbow.

If a child has a high fever, difficulty breathing, is not drinking well or not urinating, parents can contact their health-care provider, call Health Links–Info Sante in Winnipeg at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free), go to a walk-in clinic, a QuickCare Clinic or the nearest emergency department.

Nova Scotia | New fire safety program targets youth

A unique initiative launched in Nova Scotia today, Oct. 1, will encourage youth to become leaders in fire safety.

The Nova Scotia Office of the Fire Marshal is participating in a national initiative that provides teachers across the country with lesson plans on fire safety, and encourages every household to test and replace their smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11.

“We’re thrilled to have the participation of our fire departments in this national program of the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners,” said Harold Pothier, Nova Scotia’s Fire Marshal. “Fire departments and school teachers in our communities have long had a unique partnership in teaching children about fire safety that can leave a lasting impression on students and prevent tragedies years down the road.”

The initiative is expected to reach up to 100,000 students across Canada during Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month! It will be supported by local fire departments and the campaign’s website www.safeathome.ca .

“Fire is very unpredictable and can travel a lot faster than most people think,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey. “This initiative is a great way to educate our youth on the importance of fire safety and, through them, educate their parents as students will take this information into their homes.”

“The potential benefits of a successful national outreach are enormous,” said Duane McKay, president of the national council. “In more than half of fatal fires, investigators find no working smoke alarms. Fire safety programs that focus on youth deliver the fire safety fundamentals they need to know to escape a burning home, while motivating parents to test and maintain their smoke alarms.”

Parents should watch for Test and Replace homework pages, which include a home fire escape planning sheet and a safety checklist. Once completed, parents and youth can register their home at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace and download a certificate of completion for students to take back to class.

Smoke alarms are required on every storey of homes and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least once a year. If it is more than 10 years old, even if the alarm sounds when the test button is pushed, it should be replaced as cooking and dust can deteriorate the sensor over time.

More details on the initiative can be found at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace .

During Fire Prevention Week in Nova Scotia, Mr. Furey, the Office of the Fire Marshal, first responders and other partners will hold a live twitter chat on fire safety Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #nsfiresafety.

Prince Edward Island | Alarmed and Ready – Working smoke alarms save lives

Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire says Environment, Labour and Justice Minister Janice Sherry.

“Fire Prevention Week takes place October 5-11 and this year’s theme is Alarmed and Ready – Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives,” said Minister Sherry. “The Island Fire Service and Provincial Fire Marshal’s Office are joining forces with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to remind Islanders about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly.”

Working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has generously donated working smoke alarms and batteries to the Island Fire Service. Island Fire Departments will be having open houses during Fire Prevention Week and distributing working smoke alarms and batteries to Islanders who need them. Check with your local Fire Department for information on how you can get a working smoke alarm and batteries.

The Fire Marshal’s Office offers the following tips regarding working smoke alarms:

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

• In new construction, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.

• Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old, or sooner if they don’t respond properly.

• Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

“In a fire, seconds count. Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep,” says Provincial Fire Marshal Dave Rossiter. “Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

For more information on fire prevention, contact your local fire department, email publicsafety@gov.pe.ca or contact the Provincial Fire Marshal`s Office at (902) 368-4869. Follow the Office of Public Safety on Facebook and Twitter @peipublicsafety.

Nova Scotia | GuardEx14 maritime exercise featured multi-nation participation

The Government of Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard hosted the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum (NACGF) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from September 29 to October 2, 2014.

The Forum meets annually and brings together Heads of Delegations from the 20 member countries. The meeting was held at the Delta Halifax Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This year’s theme was technology and the member countries discussed how to employ it toward greater multilateral cooperation on matters related to illegal drug trafficking, marine security, environmental response, fisheries enforcement, illegal migration, search and rescue, and technical issues.

During the Forum, the Canadian Coast Guard also led an international, multi-agency exercise on maritime security, search and rescue and environmental response.

The two-day exercise, called GuardEx14, began Tuesday in Mahone Bay and then moved to Halifax Harbour on Wednesday. The exercise scenario began as a maritime security incident before evolving into a search and rescue incident, and then finally into an environmental response incident.

The Canadian Coast Guard was joined by personnel and assets from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, National Defense, Transport Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as personnel, vessels and aircraft from the United States and France. Several private sector response partners also participated.

Newfoundland and Labrador | Premier officially dedicates offshore helicopter accident memorial

A beacon of remembrance was lit at Quidi Vidi Lake this week as the Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, officially dedicated the Offshore Helicopter Accident Memorial. The memorial pays tribute to the victims of Cougar 491 and the 1985 Universal Helicopter crashes.

“After centuries of making our living from the sea, our province is no stranger to hardship and tragedy. In recent years, our livelihoods have continued to be dependent on the sea, but increasingly so in the offshore industry. The Cougar 491 and the 1985 Universal Helicopter crashes certainly impacted the province as a whole. It is our sincere hope that this memorial will not only be a lasting reminder of those who lost their lives in these helicopter tragedies, but also a place that speaks to the impact they had on the lives of all who knew them.” - The Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

On March 13, 1985, six offshore oil industry workers died when a Universal helicopter crashed after leaving the Bow Drill oil rig in Placentia Bay. On March 12, 2009, Cougar 491 crashed while en route to the SeaRose FPSO in the White Rose oil field and Hibernia Platform in the Hibernia oilfield, killing 17 of the 18 passengers onboard.

“As a government, it was important to us that this memorial was fitting and respectfully represented the individuals whose lives were lost in these helicopter tragedies. Through the work of a dedicated committee and incredible design team, a monument was created to keep memories alive, have it embodied in light as a constant beacon of remembrance, and make it a place where all who visited could reflect and learn more about the tragic accidents.” - The Honourable Tony Cornect, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

In partnership with the Provincial Government, the City of St. John’s donated the land for the memorial site and provided technical assistance such as facilitation of its construction, electrical inspections and review of site drawings.

“The City of St. John’s is proud to support this important monument. It not only memorializes a tragic moment in our past but, more importantly, this monument is a standing testament to strength as a community, courage in the face of adversity and hope for the future.” - Danny Breen, Ward 1 Councillor Danny Breen, City of St. John’s

Designed by artist Luben Boykov and landscape architect Frederick Hann, the monument’s design includes a spiraling stainless steel sculpture at its centre which is representative of the aerial screw prototype of the first rotary-type flying machine envisioned by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. Along the spiral of the aerial screw, the names of the 23 victims of both helicopter tragedies have been cut into the stainless steel. Light is the prominent feature of the memorial, shining skyward through the open cutwork of the names.

Newfoundland and Labrador | Provincial govt support fully-inclusive emergency planning

The Honourable Judy Manning, Minister of Public Safety and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services, joined representatives of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL in Gander this week to launch a series of information and training sessions designed to improve emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.

The sessions are part of A Shared Responsibility, a project which aims to better equip municipal planners and first responders, and to help people with disabilities, prepare for an emergency. The launch included an update on a draft planning guide – An Inclusive Emergency Planning Guide for Planners and Responders.

“We recognize the importance of inclusive emergency planning for first responders and want to ensure that persons with disabilities have the information they need to be prepared for any type of situation. The training and information sessions launched today complement the planning guide, and the feedback received will contribute to its final development. As Minister of the newly-formed Department of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development, and as the Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, I look forward to overseeing a realigned focus on the physical and social well-being of all our citizens, in an inclusive society that recognizes issues of importance to persons with disabilities.” - The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development and Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities

The Provincial Government provided $30,000 to the coalition for A Shared Responsibility, which was initiated in response to severe weather events in recent years which highlighted the need for emergency preparedness. The project is guided by a 22-member task force of individuals with expertise and experience in emergency preparedness and matters concerning persons with disabilities.

“An emergency can occur at any time, with an impact that extends to all members of society. This important initiative serves as a platform to bring emergency planners and responders together with persons with disabilities with a common goal of emergency preparedness. The Department of Public Safety was formed by Premier Paul Davis with an aim of ensuring that our communities are as safe as possible. As the Minister of this new department, I am looking forward to the new planning guide further enhancing emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities in our province.” - The Honourable Judy Manning, Minister of Public Safety and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services-NL

The training and information sessions launched today will focus on two topics – emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities, and training and guidelines for emergency planners and first responders. Training will ensure that emergency planning is inclusive to persons with disabilities, ensuring that preparedness is considered before the impact of a disaster. The sessions will also provide an opportunity for feedback on the guide to ensure it reflects the needs across Newfoundland and Labrador.

In recent years, our province has experienced severe weather and other events requiring emergency response. A Shared Responsibility came as a result of discussions with the Provincial Government, Eastern Health, Canadian Red Cross, and Municipalities NL. We are pleased to launch our workshops and create awareness that emergency preparedness is inclusive to all persons in our province.- Kelly White, Executive Director, Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL

Training sessions for planners and first responders, as well as persons with disabilities will be held in western, eastern and Labrador regions in the coming months. Information about training workshops will be released by the Coalition as they are scheduled. An Inclusive Emergency Planning Guide for Planners and Responders will be finalized following these sessions, and is expected to be published spring 2015.

QUICK FACTS

  • The Honourable Judy Manning, Minister of Public Safety and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services, joined representatives of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL in Gander today to launch a series of information and training sessions around A Shared Responsibility, a project designed to better equip municipal planners and first responders, and help persons with disabilities, prepare for an emergency.
  • The launch included an update on a draft planning guide – An Inclusive Emergency Planning Guide for Planners and Responders.
  • The Provincial Government provided $30,000 for the project.
  • A Shared Responsibility is focused on ensuring emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts meet the needs of persons with disabilities. The project is guided by a 22-member task force.
  • To learn more about the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, visit: http://www.codnl.ca/

Be well. Practice big medicine.