Though the World Health Organization is still reluctant to raise the flu alert from phase 5 to the highest level of phase 6, the Cree Health Board is still responding to the H1N1 strain influenza outbreak.

The CHB is asking that those in the Cree communities take precautions to protect themselves and others. These precautions entail such things as frequent hand washing and covering one’s mouth with a tissue should they have to cough or sneeze. All unnecessary travel to Mexico, where the flu seems to have originated from, is being discouraged.

In recent years, the CHB has developed its own strategy for flu pandemics after the threat of the bird flu a few years back. The guidelines come directly from Quebec Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Health Services within the Cree communities have also been asked to be particularly cautious around those coming into the clinics presenting flu-like symptoms, such as fever or coughing. Those with the symptoms will be given a mask and asked to distance themselves from others in the waiting rooms.

The Public Health Department has been asked to report anyone who has traveled to areas where the swine flu has been reported and has flu-like symptoms. Such individuals will be tested for the virus and given the necessary care.

At press time, the national total of individuals in Canada detected with the H1N1 strain influenza or swine flu stood at 28 reported cases.