With the official arrival of spring just days away, not one new case of influenza has surfaced in the jurisdiction of Public Health Sudbury & Districts this year.
And according to Health Canada’s regular FluWatch report, we are now in Week Ten in the 2022 flu season, but the incidence of influenza has been all but non-existent.
The most recent statistics are available only for Week Nine, which is from Feb. 27 to Mar. 5. So far, a total of 14 cases of Influenza-A and zero cases of Influenza-B have been reported across Canada. No official flu cases have been reported this year in Sudbury.
In the local health jurisdiction, Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) said this week it has been more than two years since there was any official case of influenza reported, which was right up to the period before the pandemic was declared.
“The last reported cases of influenza reported to Public Health Sudbury & Districts occurred between October 2019, and March 2020. During that time, there were 85 confirmed cases reported,” said PHSD.
It was after that that public health began promoting the idea of precautions such as hand sanitizing, masking and physical distancing.
“There have been no reported cases of influenza or influenza outbreaks reported to Public Health Sudbury & Districts during this current influenza season (2021/2022). This is likely due to protection from influenza immunization, as well as protective measures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic such as wearing a mask, frequent hand-washing, and staying home when ill,” said PHSD.
PHSD said the provincial guidelines for testing for influenza included only those individuals who are hospitalized or who are tested as part of the investigation of a respiratory outbreak in an institution, such as a hospital or a long-term care home.
Health Canada reports that although there are similarities between the flu and COVID-19, COVID usually results in a more serious level of sickness and that COVID is far more contagious than influenza. So far, the death rate for COVID-19 is far beyond influenza. Before the COVID pandemic, flu resulted in roughly 3,500 deaths per year in Canada.
In the past two years in Canada, COVID-19 has resulted in more than 36,000 deaths, said Health Canada.
Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com, covering health care in Northern Ontario. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible with funding from the federal government.
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