As COVID-19 begins to wane, more Canadians are catching the flu - National |  Globalnews.ca

As COVID-19 begins to wane, more Canadians are catching the flu – National | Globalnews.ca

COVID-19 cases are down, but more and more Canadians are catching the flu across the country, Canada’s top public health official said Friday.

“We are seeing influenza activity increasing to the seasonal threshold despite the opposite trends expected at this time of year,” said Dr Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer. told reporters during a federal COVID-19 update.

Without many COVID-19 health mandates like masking in effect in most places across the country, flu cases have increased, according to Tam.


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“One of the things we have learned about the use of public health measures for COVID-19 over the past two years is that they have also been effective in reducing the prevalence of other infectious diseases. . Our reduced contact rates may have interrupted the transmission of other diseases such as influenza,” Tam said.

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“Personal protective habits help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as other risky transactions during illnesses,” she added. “It’s a reminder that our efforts are still needed.”

According to a federal government report, flu cases have risen sharply since early April.

From May 8 to May 14, 2,121 laboratory detections of influenza were reported. The percentage of ILI visits was 1.8% during this period, exceeding pre-pandemic levels typical for this time of year.

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“Now, because we don’t have masks, you see this huge increase in flu in the population,” said Horacio Bach, assistant clinical professor affiliated with the division of infectious diseases at the medical school. University of British Columbia, to Global News.

Bach still recommends the use of masks and continues to wear a double mask in public.

As of May 20, the seven-day average of daily lab-confirmed cases was just above 3,564, down more than 60% from the rate seen a month ago.

The number of Canadians seeking hospital treatment for COVID-19 stands at 4,880 patients, down more than 20% from two weeks ago.

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This includes 349 people being treated in intensive care units, a number which has now leveled off after dropping in the first half of April.

The country is currently experiencing an average of 63 deaths per day. The rate remained stable at the beginning of May after increasing steadily during April.


However, new confirmed cases of COVID-19 brought the national total to more than 3.84 million cases and more than 40,600 deaths. More than 4,800 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including more than 340 people in intensive care.

As of May 19, more than 84,952,660 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada.

So far, more than 34,986,036 Canadians have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, while 31,356,155 Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses.

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Since their authorization in September 2021, 18,610,469 third “booster” doses have been administered, according to available provincial and territorial data, which means that 48.7% of the Canadian population has received three doses.

As of May 19, 90.4% of eligible Canadians aged five and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 86.2% were fully vaccinated with two shots. Vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 were approved by Health Canada last November.

In Ontario, 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 new deaths were reported in the latest update on May 20.


In Quebec, 612 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in its latest update on May 20, with 12 new virus-related deaths.

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The province has recorded 15,312 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Saskatchewan announced 465 new infections and 22 new deaths over seven days in the latest May 19 update and Alberta reported 3,614 new cases of COVID-19 and 61 new deaths over seven days in the latest update of May 18.

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In Nova Scotia’s latest update, 2,513 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 new deaths were reported over seven days.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 264 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death over five days in the latest May 18 update.

There are currently 14 patients in hospital with COVID-19, up from the last update, with two people in intensive care.


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The Northwest Territories reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 over seven days in the latest May 16 update and Prince Edward Island reported 792 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death over seven days in the latest update on May 17.

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Although Manitoba has seen a drop in daily case counts, it has seen an increase in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions over the past week. It’s the same thing for British Columbia.

“It’s a reminder that our efforts are still needed,” Tam said Friday, speaking of high hospitalization levels.

As of May 18, Yukon has reported four new cases of COVID-19. There have been 4,339 cases so far, of which 4,290 have recovered. The territory has recorded 25 deaths from COVID-19.


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Tam remains “cautiously optimistic” that COVID will continue to ease slightly in Canada over the coming months.

“But anything can happen and we just have to stay vigilant,” she said.

— with files by Sean Boynton


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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