Health officials have confirmed an outbreak of H1N1 flu at Edmonton's Misericordia Hospital.

Earlier today, medical officer of health Dr. Chris Sikora said about a dozen staff and a handful of patients have come down with the flu, though that number was revised to three lab-confirmed cases with others under investigation.

Containment procedures are now in effect within the hospital to help curb the spread of the virus.

Sikora said only about 20 per cent of staff at the hospital are immunized, a number he called abysmal.

He changed that number to 42 per cent later in the day, but expressed frustration over the low total, urging people to get their flu shots to protect themselves and others who may be more vulnerable.

A roving immunization team is now working its way through the hospital for any employees willing to accept the shot.

The Nurses Union and the union for hospital support staff have both spoken against mandatory immunization for workers.

However, hospital management does have the option of sending nurses and employees who are not immunized home unpaid – an issue currently under discussion at the Misericordia.  

H1N1 causing problems across province

AHS says most flu problems in Edmonton and across northern Alberta are caused by an H1N1 variant, with nursing homes and daycare centres also being affected.

“It's really started to emerge over the last couple of days,” said Sikora.

However mass immunization clinics close at 4:30 p.m. today until Jan. 6th, though doctor offices and pharmacies will continue to offer the vaccine.

AHS is urging anyone with symptoms to stay home and recuperate.

Earlier this week, health officials in B.C. advised young people to get a flu vaccine after determining that the H1N1 influenza strain had returned to become the predominant strain in that province this flu season.

The strain, initially called swine flu, circulated during a global pandemic in 2009.

With files from CBC's Silvanna Benolich