Flu season in Canada ‘exceptionally low’ so far, public health says

The low numbers of people with the flu across Canada is a good sign the hygienic and public health measures the government has implemented are having an impact says Dr. Theresa Tam chief public health officer. (Sean Kilpatrick  The Canadian Press files

Mayo Clinic discusses COVID-19 and importance of flu vaccination

"In fact, Mayo Clinic is developing a test right now that it can use for both COVID-19 and flu simultaneously", says Dr. Robert Jacobson, Pediatrician and Vaccine Researcher.

There are now no hospitalized flu cases in Canada, but in 2019, by the first week of November there were 60. This year, they reported four.

The average number of lab-confirmed flu cases by now over the past six years is 818.

There are just 17 confirmed cases of the flu in Canada even though twice as many people are getting tested.

Signs from the Southern Hemisphere, which gets hit with flu season first, were reason to hope the "twindemic" wasn't going to happen here.

New Zealand's positive cases were down 99.8 per cent, Australia's confirmed cases were down 93 per cent. In 2020, that number is down to 36.

South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported only one case of the flu out of about 4,000 random surveillance tests performed.

After the case was detected, Alberta health officials and staff with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry launched a public health investigation to determine the source of the virus and to verify that no spread had occurred.

Dr. Evans also says the reduction of worldwide travel has stifled the spread of the flu.

He believes the low flu numbers are because Canadians are physically distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands more frequently.

Canada is also increasing its messaging regarding the importance of flu vaccines.

Alberta shared that 1.14 million people have been vaccinated so far, barely a month after the province offered the shot. In 2019, the province vaccinated 1.4 million total.

"Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family and others in our community from the flu", said Cumberland County Health Department Director Mindy Doyle.

"You can not afford to have influenza cases coming in and taking up emergency room and hospital bed capacity", she said.

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