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Public Health expects ‘difficult’ flu season; launches dashboard to track and report

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has received laboratory confirmation of the first case of Influenza A and forecasts a difficult respiratory virus season due to lessened community immunity, and out-of-date vaccination status.

Influenza causes mild to severe illness and can lead to serious health complications, even in healthy children and adults.

Today, HPEPH confirmed a respiratory outbreak at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home. Affected residents were isolated and their symptoms have since resolved. Following HPEPH’s regulations, if there are no active or new cases, the outbreak should resolve by Nov. 7.

The influenza vaccine is now available free of charge to anyone in Ontario over the age of six months.

“Getting an annual influenza vaccination and staying up-to-date with recommended COVID-19 boosters is the best and easiest way to protect yourself, your loved ones, the vulnerable, and our health care system this respiratory season,” said Dr. Ethan Toumishey, MOH and CEO at HPEPH. “Contact your local health care provider or a local pharmacy to get the flu shot as soon as possible, to help build your immunity before local rates of infection start to spike.”

To help improve awareness of the rates of local respiratory infections, HPEPH has launched a new dashboard to track and report confirmed respiratory infections and outbreaks in the region. The dashboard is to be updated weekly on Tuesdays throughout respiratory virus season, and will track respiratory infections other than COVID-19 – which will continue to be reported on the COVID-19 dashboard.

The new dashboard will report confirmed cases of Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Enterovirus/Rhinovirus, and Parainfluenza identified in health care settings, as well as emergency department visits for influenza-like illnesses. It is important to note that, as the dashboard will only report cases that are tested and confirmed in the above-mentioned settings, it does not capture the full rate of infection circulating in the community. The dashboard is accessible at hpePublicHealth.ca/respiratory-update/.

Filed Under: Local News

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