Nova Scotia Health Department Released Pandemic Plan

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Pandemic Plan

The province's pandemic plan for the health system will aim to reduce the amount of sickness and death during a potential influenza pandemic.

The first version of the Nova Scotia Health System Pandemic Influenza Plan was developed in consultation with the district health authorities and incorporates feedback from various health partner organizations.

"We know that an influenza pandemic would cause great stress on our health system, so this plan focuses on trying to ensure a level of care for Nova Scotians during what will be a very stressful time," said Health Minister Chris d'Entremont. "An event such as this, however, would not only stress the health system, but the economy and society in general. And we need to prepare for that."

The provincial plan will continue to evolve as new information emerges on the local, national, and international fronts. The plan describes action, organized by pandemic phase, in areas of:

-- communications

-- surveillance

-- public health measures

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-- vaccines

-- antivirals

-- health services

"Being prepared for a pandemic doesn't mean that people won't get sick," said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. "That's why having the right public-health measures in place is so important. As well, we will follow national guidelines in rolling out our vaccine and antiviral strategy so that Nova Scotians are protected as much as possible during a pandemic."

Planning is also underway in the areas of ethics, stockpiling, and volunteer management during a pandemic. It will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis as planning progresses in each area.

It is expected that 15 to 35 per cent of Nova Scotia's population will become ill during a pandemic. About 1,000 to 3,000 Nova Scotians will require hospitalization, and 300 to 1,000 people could die.

Every year between 500 and 1,500 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die from pneumonia and other complications of ordinary seasonal influenza.

The ministers referenced past emergencies like Hurricane Juan and Swiss Air, which have helped the province understand the need for flexible, co-ordinated, and ongoing emergency planning.

The global spread of a new influenza virus that can be easily transmitted is known as an influenza pandemic.

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