The number of H1N1 deaths in the province is now at five after provincial health officials confirmed yesterday two more infected Nova Scotians died last week.

A woman from the Halifax area and a man from Pictou County – both in their early 40s – died sometime between a week ago Sunday and last Saturday, the province’s chief public health officer Dr. Robert Strang said late yesterday.

Both died from complications of the H1N1 virus, but Strang said the man and woman also had underlying health conditions. There were no other details provided.

 

Of the five Nova Scotians who have now died from H1N1 – one man and four women - the latest two are the youngest. As well, four of the deaths have come during the so-called second wave of the H1N1 pandemic.

“It doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately,” Strang said about these most recent deaths. “It really shows the serious side of this disease and the importance of prevention.”

That prevention includes getting vaccinated, Strang re-emphasized. The province announced last Friday H1N1 vaccination shots are now available to everyone after first being restricted for high-risk groups.

And while lines to get the vaccination shots have decreased, and Capital Health announced this week that by the end of today its three flu assessment clinics will be closed because of much lower attendance, Strang said by no means are we out of the woods when it comes to H1N1.

In fact, he said we might not see any decrease in the amount of deaths or the number of serious cases that require hospitalization in the next seven to 14 days because it can take a week or two for someone to show symptoms of H1N1.

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