If anything good could be said about COVID-19 it was that masking and social distancing cut down drastically on influenza cases over the past two years with not a single case of seasonal flu being reported in Alberta during the 2020-2021 flu season.

It may be because many of those health measures are no longer being observed by Albertans but in the past more than two months there has been a spike in influenza cases in the province and five people have now died from flu.

Two weeks ago, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there had been over 700 cases of influenza identified in the province.  The latestt stats now show 1,369 cases with 200 Albertans having to be hospitalized from the illness with 21 of them in intensive care.  The majority of the cases, 422: hospitalizations, 70: ICU visits nine: and deaths, three have been in the Calgary zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) which includes the City of Airdrie.  The Edmonton zone has the second highest cases with 300 while 62 Edmontonians have been hospitalized and one has died.

The current flu season has seen AHS administer over 400,000 less doses of influenza vaccine with 1,207,099 people rolling up their sleeves to get their jab compared to 1,619,310 in 2020-2021.

Dr. Hinshaw said during an earlier COVID-19 provincial update, “Actions to lower the risk of influenza infection are the same as those we need to continue for COVID.  Washing hands regularly, staying home if sick and, for those at higher risk of severe outcomes, considering actions like wearing masks when in public places.”

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