This year’s later than usual flu season has been declared an emergency and allowed the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to bring in extra staff to fight it.
The flu has hit hard this year, especially in children. It has lead to some deaths.
WRHA Chief Nursing Officer Lori Lamont says they’ve invoked what’s called “Article 10″ of their collective agreement.
“It allows us to suspend some of the normal scheduling provisions and allows us to move staff from their normal workplaces into other areas where we need them,” she says.
It can lead to mandatory overtime for staff, especially at Children’s Hospital.
Lamont says the problem hasn’t necessarily been more cases than usual but that the cases they do see are more severe.
She says it has also hit harder in children than usual this year. Most of the kids who are getting the illness need “critical care” and ventilators which puts a strain on staff and resources.
“People who got ill with the flu this year got very ill,” she says.
Lamont says she thinks the worst of flu season is over but Article 10 will stay in place as they continue to see a spike in some other respiratory illnesses.