Monday, November 30, 2009

H1N1 Community of Caring

Dear Community/Faith Organization:

As you know, we are officially in the second wave of the H1N1 influenza pandemic. In Canada and globally, most cases of H1N1 continue to appear as typical flu-like illness. However, there are a small proportion of cases that develop into severe respiratory illness, resulting in hospitalization and sometimes even death. Most concerning is that a number of cases of severe illness have been among previously healthy young children and adults.

Our recent announcement regarding family preparedness and household mailout has outlined a number of measures to ensure individuals and families are prepared in the event they become ill from H1N1. One of the key preparedness steps is for individuals and families to have identified a key person(s) that can help provide general support and/or basic care in the home if such support is required. This is especially true for those who live alone, are a single parent or are the main caregiver in their household. Having someone they trust to care for them will allow them to stay at home and focus on getting better.

We encourage those who are well to offer their heop to someone who may need it. Allowing sick people to recover at home will help slow the spread of the H1N1 virus, not to mention strengthen our communities.

This is a time when we need communities to pull together and support one another. As a trusted part of your community your members/congregation are in a unique position to support the organization of indiviudals and families to ensure that people or families without external support are cared for as well. I encourage your organization to consider how they could help facilitate this community caring.

A fact sheet outlining basic steps for caring for an individual with influenza-like illness in the home is available on-line at

While the immediate issue is the H1N1 pandemic, over the long run your work facilitating community caring will assist your community to deal with a broad range of emergencies.

On behalf of your community, I thank you in advance for any assistance.


Robert Strang, MD, MHSc., FRCPC
Chief Public Health Officer

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