November 20, 2009
Media Release

York Region to close both Community Flu Assessment Centres

Flu assessment centres will close end of day Sunday, November 22nd; Will remain at the ready and re-open if required
NEWMARKET –The Regional Municipality of York will no longer operate the two Community Flu Assessment Centres (CFAC) located in the Town of Markham and the City of Vaughan.  The centres will close at the end of their respective business hours on Sunday, November 22nd.
The decision to close both of the centres was made in conjunction with York Region hospitals, and follows a decline in the number of residents seeking medical assistance for flu-like symptoms, particularly in local hospital emergency departments.
“York Region’s Community Flu Assessment Centres were established to help alleviate local hospital pressures of dealing with large numbers of residents attending emergency rooms with symptoms of influenza-like illness,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.  “We appreciate the cooperation we received from our three local hospitals and our municipalities in opening and now closing these centres.”
York Region’s public health pandemic plan includes the potential opening of three Community Flu Assessment Centres.  While two centres operated in the south, the third centre planned for the Town of Newmarket was not needed and did not open.  However, all three of these facilities will remain at the ready and can be quickly re-opened to meet the needs of the community, if required.
Influenza-like illnesses, like seasonal flu viruses and the H1N1 flu virus, are caused by viruses that are easy to catch and easy to spread.  Most people who get the flu will be able to manage their symptoms at home, but some people may need further assessment by a health care provider.  Symptoms of the flu include the acute onset of fever (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) and a cough combined with a sore throat, muscle aches and/or joint pain and weakness.  In children under five years of age, vomiting or diarrhea may also be present and fever may not be prominent.  If you have concerns about symptoms, you should contact your family physician or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are caring for someone at home who has the flu, monitor the flu symptoms and be aware of the signs of complications.  Watch for rapid, short or difficulty breathing, bluish or grey skin color, bloody or coloured mucus/spit, sudden dizziness or confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, high fever lasting more than three days or low blood pressure.  In children, watch to see if they are not drinking enough fluids or eating, not waking up or interacting, are irritable or not wanting to play or be held.  If any of these complications occur, seek medical attention immediately.
“While we have made the decision to close the Community Flu Assessment Centres, the H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate in our community,” added Dr. Kurji.  “We must remain vigilant and protect ourselves and our families.  I encourage everyone to be immunized.”
H1N1 flu vaccine is available to all York Region residents (over the age of six months).  Most York Region community H1N1 flu shot clinics operate seven days a week and are scheduled to run until the week ending Friday, December 18th.
For clinic locations, dates and times and for more information on this year’s flu season, please visit or contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
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Media Contact:    Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
                         Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753

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