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Sun Country asks visitors to wear masks during flu season

Sun Country Health Region is emphasizing a new practice to be followed during flu season this year. The Region recommends that all visitors, contractors and doctors visiting its health care facilities receive the flu vaccine or wear a mask.

Masks will be provided at the entrance to facilities. Proof of immunization will not be required.

“We know that influenza can be a serious disease, especially for frail elderly residents, patients receiving chemotherapy, and for those living with chronic heart or respiratory disease,” says Marga Cugnet, CEO, Sun Country Health Region. “Everyone can get the flu and be very sick for several days but, for those people especially, the disease can lead to further complications like pneumonia and death.”

Influenza is a highly contagious disease spread by droplets through close contact with an infected individual and/or by touching materials touched by infected people. Between 10-20 per cent of Canadians experience the disease each year.  Some people do not know they can spread the flu even though they’ve experienced no symptoms.

The evidence shows that among diseases that might be prevented through the use of vaccine, influenza causes by far the most deaths, outpacing all other vaccine preventable diseases combined.

Influenza virus can be spread before people recognize they have the flu, before they develop symptoms. The use of masks will help to reduce the spread of infection.

Canada’s Public Health Agency estimates that from 2000 to 4000 people die each year from the flu or its complications.  

“As a health region committed to patient safety, we are determined to protect our patients and residents from this unnecessary risk,” says Mrs. Cugnet. “We ask the public to honour our recommendation. If visitors are ill, we ask that they not visit friends or family in our facilities until their symptoms have disappeared.”

Posted Nov. 15 


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