The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that flu season has officially begun in the country.
The rate of positive flu tests has remained above the agency’s 5% threshold for two consecutive weeks.
As of November 25, 7.5% of people tested for the flu in Canada tested positive.
The Dre Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, says the number of cases is increasing and there will be more flu around in a few weeks.
dre McGeer says this is a good time to get a flu shot because it takes about two weeks to build up people’s immune systems.
He said that the dominant strain is influenza A type H1N1, which fits well with the current vaccine.
Not all provinces and territories have reported a 5% positivity rate. For example, the latest flu surveillance report from Public Health Ontario shows the rate was 2.8% as of November 25 in that province.
But Ontario and other provinces will soon catch up and those rates will rise, Dr.re McGeer during an interview on Friday.
“The flu season that started today suggests that there will be a lot of flu in late December and early January,” he said.
“That’s when you want to go out with your friends and do a lot of things. But the flu can make this season very painful,” he added.
Many adults have some level of resistance to H1N1 flu strains, so they “cause a lot of illness in children, especially unvaccinated children,” said Dr.re McGeer.
He added that “the emergency and pediatrics departments are under more pressure” during the H1N1-dominant flu season.
COVID-19 is back in force
Although the Dre McGeer reiterated that while it’s important for people to get their flu shots, he’s more concerned about the level of COVID-19 circulating this year.
Friday’s surveillance report from Public Health Ontario shows a 20 percent test positivity rate for COVID-19 in that province.
In addition to the positive test, waste monitoring and hospitalizations show an increase in COVID-19 cases in Canada, said D.re McGeer.
“Just because we stopped talking about people being hospitalized with COVID doesn’t mean people aren’t being hospitalized with COVID,” he said.
“At the rate we’re going, there will be more people hospitalized from COVID and more people will die from it this year than last year,” said the doctor, noting that the low adoption of the new COVID vaccine -19 as far as the XBB variant is concerned.
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