CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The chief public well being officer is urging Islanders to get their flu photographs because the virus is circulating extensively and inflicting quite a lot of sickness and hospitalizations.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public well being officer, mentioned influenza is widespread throughout P.E.I. when she spoke to SaltWire Community by cellphone on Dec. 8.
“We’ve had 24 folks hospitalized resulting from influenza, 11 final week. We had one particular person final week, as properly, within the ICU associated to influenza,” mentioned Morrison.
Final week additionally noticed 70 new, lab-confirmed instances of the flu for a complete of 155 because the season started.
“That’s simply after all a sign of that there’s better influenza exercise, as a result of lab confirmed instances simply point out there’s broader exercise locally.”
Forty-two per cent of checks come again constructive for influenza, mentioned Morrison. On the similar time, COVID-19 checks are 22 per cent constructive.
“You’re seeing COVID proceed to flow into, however you’re additionally seeing influenza and also you’re seeing a giant spike in influenza, actually, within the final couple of weeks.”
There have been 18 influenza outbreaks because the begin of the season, Morrison mentioned. Seven outbreaks had been final week. Two had been in long-term care and group care amenities, whereas 5 had been in faculties, mentioned Morrison. Some faculties skilled as much as 20 per cent absenteeism, she mentioned.
SaltWire Community just lately requested the Public Colleges Department (PSB) for absentee charges because the begin of the yr. On Dec. 2 the department mentioned it has been seeing increased absentee charges in each college students and employees in comparison with different years.
“Present charges for the previous few months for college kids ranged from 6.6 to 14.6 per cent and for workers from 13 to fifteen per cent. There was a big concentrate on substitute recruitment in the course of the previous spring and summer time to help with guaranteeing the flexibility to fill wanted vacancies,” mentioned PSB spokesperson Jennifer Redmond.
“Kids are being impacted throughout the nation most this yr from influenza,” mentioned Morrison, including that nationally, the best charges of hospitalization resulting from influenza are in kids aged 0-4, adopted by adults aged 65 and older.
The median age for flu is 14, mentioned Morrison.
There are a selection of things contributing to the extraordinary season of diseases, mentioned Morrison.
“Our immunity didn’t change, however we had been sporting masks and we weren’t gathering in the identical approach during the last couple of years,” mentioned Morrison. “A few of our younger kids could not have been uncovered to all of those viruses in the identical approach during the last couple of years, however the viruses themselves haven’t modified.”
“We all know that being vaccinated in opposition to influenza lowers your danger of extreme outcomes and helps stop hospitalizations.”
— Dr. Heather Morrison
The recognized instances of flu had been strains which might be lined by the vaccine, so it’s going to present good safety, mentioned Morrison.
“We all know that being vaccinated in opposition to influenza lowers your danger of extreme outcomes and helps stop hospitalizations,” mentioned Morrison. “For the little infants who’re lower than six months, (it’s vital) to verify folks round them are protected.”
Simply 19 per cent of youngsters on P.E.I. aged 0-10 are vaccinated, Morrison mentioned.
“If we will get it now — as a result of it takes a few weeks for the immunity to essentially change into the best after the flu vaccine — so if we will get it now, it ought to defend us over the vacations,” mentioned Morrison.
Three A’s to stopping severe influenza
- Consciousness – Influenza vaccine is out there to everybody six months of age and older. Vaccination helps scale back sever outcomes and hospitalizations.
- Entry – Vaccines can be found at group pharmacies to these 5 years of age and up. Kids six months of age and older can obtain the vaccine from public well being nursing. Hello-potency vaccines can be found to these 65 and older.
- Motion – Make the time. “Attempt to defend your self, your kids and your loved ones,” mentioned Morrison.
Alison Jenkins is a well being reporter with SaltWire Community based mostly in Charlottetown.