AHS releases first weekly influenza update

The reports will be continuously updated through March 2020 to provide a snapshot of the virus’ activity during that time.

Alberta Health Services is releasing weekly data on influenza in the province. File photo

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The first in a series of data reports on influenza in Alberta is available to the public.

Alberta Health Services posted their first weekly data update for the 2019-20 influenza season online, including information on immunizations administered, lab-confirmed cases of influenza, and hospitalizations and deaths within the province.

The reports will be continuously updated through March 2020 to provide a snapshot of the virus’ activity during that time. AHS said the update intends to ensure transparency through the 2019-20 flu season.

“It’s important to remember the influenza disease data we capture in our weekly updates is considered a mere fraction of the influenza activity that is actually impacting our friends, loved ones and neighbours,” said Dr. Jia Hu, AHS Medical Officer of Health.

In the Edmonton Zone, a total of 238,336 flu shots have been administered, and there have been a total of 31 confirmed cases of influenza A. A total of 10 people in the Edmonton zone were admitted to hospital with lab confirmed Influenza.

Calgary has been hit harder by the flu bug, with 293,008 flu shots administered, but a total of 61 confirmed cases of Influenza A. An additional 27 patients have been admitted to hospital in Calgary due to lab confirmed influenza. There have been no deaths province wide.

“Not all cases of influenza are lab-confirmed and not all cases require hospitalization. However, by consistently sharing the influenza disease information that we do capture, we are still ensuring Albertans understand the stark reality of influenza,” said Hu.

Though Calgary has seen the largest influx of hospitalized patients so far, AHS is reminding residents a flu can break out anywhere at any time. Hu added the only way to combat the virus is to get the protection of the flu shot.

Influenza Immunization is currently available free of charge to all Albertans six months of age or older. More information on the ongoing influenza program, including clinic dates, times, locations, and access to weekly data updates can be found at www.ahs.ca/influenza.

 “What is important to emphasize is that influenza is here, it is serious and already sending people to the hospital. The message we must all take away is simple: get immunized. This will protect yourself, your family and our communities,” said Hu.