The Health Ministry is offering free consultations for those affected by the Zika outbreak
Health Minister Scott Brison has announced free consultations are available for people affected by a virus outbreak that has swept the country.
Brison says he has received more than 2,500 calls from the public and the private sector in the last 24 hours and says the calls have been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s clear that the public wants to get the facts out,” Brison said.
Brisons office says they’ve received more calls from people affected with the Zika virus than any other time in their history.
The province has been experiencing a huge spike in cases and deaths in the province.
Branson says the province will have to wait to see how many people actually come to his office for their consultations, but he says the first few days are going to be busy.
Briones office says people can go to their health care provider to get their health status, check their symptoms, schedule appointments and contact their doctor to make sure they’re in good health.
He says it’s up to the health care practitioner whether they can help them get tested.
The health ministry has been working hard to get people vaccinated, but it’s not enough.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t make the public panic and get them to the point where they’re not going to want to go back,” Branson said.
“And I think that’s the problem.
We don’t have enough resources.
We need to be able to put resources in place to make people understand what we’re talking about.”
Branson is calling on Canadians to call their doctor, or visit the emergency room, if they experience any of the symptoms listed above.
If they are unable to reach a doctor or hospital, Branson has announced he will call them back.
He’s also announcing a temporary ban on flying.
Brions office says there will be no flights in and out of the province until further notice.
Brisson says the government has been reaching out to the provinces health officials and health authorities, and has been getting feedback from the health authorities.
He hopes the government will use this time to develop more measures to combat the virus.
Health Canada has said it has sent out nearly 2,800 doses of vaccines to the public.
Brindley says the provincial health authorities are working on a vaccine.
“I think the public really needs to be aware that the province is working very hard on a plan and I think we’ll see more announcements in the coming days,” he said.
Health officials are working with the Department of Health to make the vaccine available to everyone who needs it, including pregnant women, those with immune deficiencies and those who have recently traveled to areas affected by Zika.
Brinding says it will take some time to implement the vaccine, and it will be ready for use by the end of March.
He added that if there is a need for additional testing, Brindleys office will be providing the tests to the province’s health workers.
Brinister says they have no immediate plans to implement a mandatory vaccine schedule.
He said he wants to ensure that we do not create panic in the population and that we know what’s being done to make it easier for people to get tested and get the proper vaccinations.
Brissons office says a pilot project is underway to test people for Zika virus antibodies.
It will be conducted by a company in Saskatoon, and the government expects to start testing people as early as April.
The program will test saliva and blood to make certain that the vaccine isn’t causing problems with the immune system.
Brins office says the company is testing more than 1,000 people a day and expects to test another 3,000 by the middle of May.
Brinson says the process is taking longer than expected, but the province expects to complete the test by the time the pilot is complete.
He notes that there are some people who have been infected with Zika but have been able to get rid of it, while others are still susceptible to the virus and are at high risk for developing severe symptoms.
He also says people who are already infected with the virus should be tested for antibodies, as well as those who may be able trace their virus to an individual who tested positive and are still at high-risk for developing symptoms.
Briscans office says about 300 people have been tested so far.
The tests are being done by the Saskatoon and Regina health departments.
Brincis office says that they expect to have a vaccine ready by mid-May.
Brains office says testing will continue through the end and the province wants to continue doing outreach to help people get vaccinated.
He is asking people to go to the clinic to get a Zika test, or call their local health centre if they need an appointment.
He will also be speaking to the media this week to explain the vaccine.
Brinton says they are doing all they can to keep Canadians informed.
“At this point, we are really focused on helping people understand how they can be more prepared for their health, and for their community,” he says.