With no new cases of influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, to report over the last week, Ottawa’s public health unit has shifted its focus to planning for what they anticipate to be a busy flu season.

 

“We certainly think we’re past the peak of the first wave,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s medical officer of health. “But we’re anticipating a busy influenza season.

 

“We want to ensure that individuals who don’t have a family physician have a place to go,” said Levy.

 

The city is expanding the staffing for its public health line. By calling 613-580-6744, residents will be able to seek advice from public health nurses, who can serve callers in English, French, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, Somali and Spanish.

 

While people who suffer serious symptoms, including difficulty breathing, should seek help in hospital, patients with pre-existing conditions including diabetes, pregnancy and obesity should also seek treatment early, said Levy.

Patients who suffer mild symptoms should stay home, he said.

Public health will also be working with school boards, Levy said, adding he thought they did the right thing during the height of the first wave by not closing schools.