Peterborough Public Health reports first confirmed case of influenza of season

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The start of cold and flu season has come early. Peterborough Public Health has confirmed its first influenza case. The early start raising concerns about what the flu season will look like with COVID-19 still circulating. Katrina Squazzin has more – Sep 21, 2022

Peterborough Public Health is reporting the first confirmed case of influenza in its jurisdiction this flu season.

In a release issued Wednesday morning, the health unit says the confirmed case is being reported much earlier than initial cases prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2018-19 flu season, the health unit reported the first confirmed case of influenza on Dec. 3. In 2019-2020, the first case was confirmed on Nov. 1.

The health unit serves the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

Read more: Experts say Ontario may be facing a ‘rough’ influenza season

“We are seeing a very early start to the season and want to caution our community that a confirmed case typically indicates that influenza is already transmitting,” said medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott.

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“Following trends from the southern hemisphere, we anticipate that influenza will make a strong resurgence this season. We strongly encourage residents to follow guidance to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections such as influenza and COVID-19. This includes getting vaccinated with the flu shot when it becomes available this fall and checking the COVID-19 risk index and guidance regularly.”

The health unit said the flu shot will be available later this fall and is free to all eligible residents. Residents over the age of six months will be eligible for the flu shot when they are available.

“Like COVID-19, the influenza vaccine is very important for preventing severe symptoms related to the viral infection,” Piggott said. “We are strongly encouraging those with weaker immune systems, those who are pregnant, older adults, young children, and caregivers of these individuals to receive their flu shot this fall.”

For residents over the age of five years, the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered — there is no specific time interval that is required to wait between doses.

The health unit’s COVID-19 risk index is currently at moderate.

Piggott says COVID-19 prevention measures are also effective at preventing an influenza infection. Residents are encouraged to:

  • get the flu shot when it becomes available
  • stay up-to-date with COVID-19 and other routine vaccines
  • follow risk guidance measures recommended in the Local COVID-19 Risk Index
  • wear a tightly fitting N95/KN95 mask to prevent transmission in higher risk and indoor settings, when the risk index advises
  • be mindful of indoor air ventilation, and open windows, run HVAC regularly and otherwise improve indoor air ventilation
  • stay home if you are feeling unwell
  • wash your hands frequently
  • clean and sanitize commonly-used surfaces frequently

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