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HPHA bracing for ‘aggressive’ flu strain this winter

The four hospitals in the Huron-Perth Healthcare Alliance are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best for this year’s flu season.

Executive Director Andrew Williams said they look to Australia to get an idea of what to expect here, and so far it’s been a fairly aggressive flu strain in Australia.

He said they’re trying to be proactive in the Alliance hospitals.

“We certainly have a very visible influenza vaccine campaign with staff and volunteers and we’re always striving for 100 per cent uptake on that so we probably have one of the highest immunization rates of hospitals in the country,” said Williams.

He said you can minimize the impact of the flu through vaccination and he urges everyone to get their flu shot as soon as it’s available.

Williams added one of the challenges as far as staffing goes is they can’t just take staff from other sectors, so they have to be creative within their own system.

“Last year we actually partnered with long term care homes and were able to re-locate patients who were waiting for long term care beds into some of their facilities to free up capacity,” he said. “So we’re always looking at ways that we can maintain patient movement within the system.”