Emergency and Pandemic Preparedness
Oct 30 Update from David Long:
As everyone is aware, the second wave of H1N1 is upon us. Fortunately the virus has not mutated so the H1N1 vaccine should give us adequate protection from it. The public response to the initial clinics seems to indicate that many people have decided to follow the advice of Public Health Canada. Canadians are most fortunate to have this protection freely available. For further information about the vaccine, please read: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/vacc/myth-mythe-eng.php
It is critically important that we continue to provide hand sanitizer in every church and parish hall while following the guidelines on proper hand hygiene during worship. It is essential that anybody feeling ill not come to church or parish events – yes, that includes the clergy. During the flu season we anticipate that more people will decide to decline the chalice and/or not participate in the sharing of the Peace in the normal way. It is essential that we make them feel comfortable with their decision. Use of the Common Cup will be left to the discretion of individual parishes. Some parishes may decide to re-invent the Peace to eliminate hand shaking. Let’s try to be creative finding no contact ways of sharing the Peace of Christ. Regular bulletin announcements reminding worshippers not to dip their wafer into the wine are more important than ever in order to protect everybody’s health.
For further information please refer to the diocesan website or contact the Pandemic Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 21 2009
Letter from Bishop Bird:
To the People of the Diocese of Niagara
As you are well aware, the H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) outbreak this past spring was far from the catastrophic 30% infection rate that was predicted. Because the infection rate was low we were able to continue our regular church activities even when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Stage Six pandemic alert.
We now face another threat, the danger of complacency, as we approach a fall flu season significantly different from all others! WHO reports “To date, the most severe cases and deaths have occurred in adults under the age of 50 years, with deaths in the elderly comparatively rare. This age distribution is in stark contrast with seasonal influenza, where around 90% of severe and fatal cases occur in people 65 years of age or older.” They continue: “An increased risk during pregnancy is now consistently well-documented across countries. This risk takes on added significance for a virus, like this one, that preferentially infects younger people.” Those who suffer from asthma and diabetes are also at increased risk.
It is essential that we continue to follow the guidelines in our Pandemic Plan. Parishioners with flu like symptoms are urged to stay home until they recover. Consider weekly bulletin announcements informing visitors that, for health reasons, this diocese does not practise intinction. I urge everyone, particularly the clergy and all those in leadership roles, to consider getting a flu shot at their earliest opportunity.
- For your health and the health of your family
- To ensure your leadership is available in a possible crisis
- To avoid infecting your parishioners, especially the most vulnerable
Further information is available from Public Health Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/phg-ldp-eng.php or WHO http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/h1n1_second_wave_20090828/en/index.html
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our Pandemic Coordinator, Canon David Long at email@example.com
Bishop of Niagara
The Diocese of Niagara, together with the Dioceses of Huron and Toronto and our National Church has begun planning for a possible Emergency or Pandemic.
Our experience with a major snow storm in Fort Erie has heightened our awareness that as a community of believers we must be prepared to assist one another in any emergency in our society whether that be caused by acts of violence, by weather or any medical cause.
As material becomes available for emergency response to any situation that we may confront, it will be displayed on this site.
For further information, don't hesitate to contact the Rev. Canon David Long, or by telephone: 905-527-1316 ext. 310 (Alison D'Atri)
Prayer during time of Pandemic
O God, you have given us the healing presence of your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray for your healing gifts on those who have been infected and affected by this present virus. Help all those who suffer from this influenza outbreak; be with those who care for them; inspire all who seek treatments and cure; preserve us from fear and uncertainty. Help each of us to be cautious but generous; realistic but caring. Keep us in your great love for in it we are healed, restored, and made anew. All of this we pray in the name of your Risen Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
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