Respiratory season has arrived in the Southern Interior, though COVID appears to be taking a back seat to a more familiar ailment — the flu.
“However, most of the disease we are seeing, in terms of COVID, is mild thanks to the vaccination efforts.”
Influenza, Mema said, is where there’s the most activity within the region over the past few weeks, in particular.
“We are seeing more influenza this year than in the past couple of years because, simply, in the past couple of years travel was restricted and gatherings were cancelled,” she said.
This flu comeback isn’t out of control, Mema said.
“What we are seeing currently is not out of the norm for any regular influenza season before the pandemic,” she said.
“We used to see this type of situation every year. Sometimes it starts a little earlier, sometimes it starts a little later.”
Interior Health representatives said that Kelowna General Hospital is seeing an increase in emergency department visits for respiratory presenting complaints.
That isn’t unexpected and it, like all health authorities, has systems in place to manage high patient volumes, including regional and provincial surge plans.
“We have been planning for various scenarios and are ready to respond to an influx of patients of all ages requiring care for respiratory illnesses,” the health authority representative said.
Interior Health recommends a flu shot this time of year.
While the health authority doesn’t offer flu numbers, as of last Thursday there were around 500 confirmed COVID cases provincewide and just 97 of them were in Interior Health.