The holidays might be over — but flu season is not.
There are influenza outbreaks being reported right across the country. Here in our region, there have been more than a dozen confirmed cases.
As Greg Davis reports, an increase in seasonal illnesses is keeping the hospital’s emergency department busy.
Since the holidays, an additional 40 patients per day are visiting prhc’s emergency department – a fifth of them with respiratory symptoms
Dr. Mark Troughton: We’ve been seeing on average 260 a day and some days over 280 so it has been really busy.
Health officials confirm 13 cases of influenza since DSecember 28th… and demand for the hospital’s isolation has doubled in a month as more patients – many of them children – are battling flu-like illnesses and/or vomiting and diarrhea.
It has meant longer wait times for patients.
Dr. Troughton: It’s a bit of a perfect storm in terms of the emergency department – extra patients, extra patients that need to be isolated and also seeing a time when their access to primary care is probably not as easy as it is other times of the year.
In Durham, Lakeridge health set up a command centre to deal with record patient volumes… upwards of 560 patients daily.
Leslie Motz: We’ve preplanned for our holiday volumes and brought in extra staff as well as added additional beds to the system but we’ve seen volumes in additions to what we would have expected based on annual trends so we’ve asked our staff to work extra hours.
Health officials say flu activity mirrors 2 years ago with the dominant H3N2 virus strain. And the number of flu cases is expected to rise
Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health Peterborough Public Health: I think people who are ill need to make sure they stay home so they don’t share the virus with others, particularly people who are at high risk to complications.
And it’s not too late to get a flu shot which experts say is a close genetic match to this season’s flu strain.
Dr. Salvaterra: Keep in mind that the the shot is not immediate. It takes two weeks for it to actually to take effect. So there may be benefit of getting that flu shot still depending on whether or you’ve been exposed. I think children under 9 who only had the one dose should definitely get their second dose if it’s their first year being immunized.
People with moderate symptoms are advised to call their family doctor or family health team or call Telehealth
Greg Davis CHEX News Peterborough