Nova Scotia continues to experience H1N1 activity across the province. Since the beginning of the 2009-10 influenza season, which runs from September 2009 to September 2010, the province has had: 720 lab-confirmed H1N1 cases 205 hospitalizations for H1N1 four H1N1-related deaths For the week of Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, there were 28 new hospitalizations of people with lab-confirmed H1N1. “I cannot stress enough the seriousness of H1N1, and the need to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer. “Everyone is at some risk of getting H1N1, and we are seeing otherwise healthy people come down with severe and debilitating illness. But it can be prevented safely and easily by getting immunized.” Other highlights include: The province publishes a report on respiratory illnesses, including H1N1, every Wednesday. It can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/h1n1/flu-activity.asp . Dr. Ken Buchholz, senior physician advisor for the Department of Health, says many district health authorities have closed or are about to close their flu assessment centres because of the declining number of people seeking care for flu symptoms. “While we are seeing a decrease in flu activity, which is reflected in the number of people going to emergency rooms and flu assessment centres with flu-like symptoms, we continue to see people who are severely ill, and who need to be hospitalized and even ventilated due to complications from the flu,” said Dr. Buchholz. Districts will continue to closely monitor visits to emergency rooms for flu symptoms, and re-open centres if they are needed. Healthlink 811, Nova Scotia’s 24-hour telecare service continues to experience a high volume of calls, with more than 9,500 calls for the week of Nov. 15-21. The website, www.nshealthlink811.ca ,had more than 1,778 visits. The percentage of emergency room visits with influenza-like illness has decreased to 15 per cent from 24 per cent, from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14. The percentage of patients with influenza-like illness has decreased to four per cent from 11 per cent, as reported by physicians around the province.