The first of a series of data reports on influenza in Alberta is publicly available.
Alberta Health Services has posted their first weekly update of data for the 2019-2020 influenza season, including information on vaccinations administered, laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the province.
The reports will be updated continuously until March 2020 to provide a snapshot of the virus activity during this period. AHS said the update was intended to ensure transparency throughout the 2019-2020 influenza season.
"It's important to remember that the influenza data we take in our weekly updates is considered a mere fraction of the influenza activity that affects our friends, loved ones and neighbors," said Dr. Jia. Hu, medical officer of the PAPA.
In the Edmonton area, 238,336 influenza vaccines were administered and 31 influenza A cases were confirmed. In total, 10 people from the Edmonton area were admitted to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed influenza.
Calgary was hit harder by the flu virus, with 293,008 influenza vaccines, but 61 cases of influenza A confirmed in total. Another 27 patients were admitted to the Calgary hospital because of a laboratory-confirmed influenza. There were no deaths throughout the province.
"Not all influenza cases are laboratory-confirmed and not all require hospitalization. However, by consistently sharing information about the flu we are collecting, we are always ensuring that Albertans understand the harsh reality of the flu, "Hu said.
Although Calgary has experienced the largest influx of hospital patients to date, AHS reminds residents that flu can be declared anywhere and anytime. Hu added that the only way to fight the virus is to get protection against the flu shot.
Influenza immunization is currently available free of charge to all Albertans aged six months and older. More information on the current flu program, including dates, times, locations, and access to weekly data updates can be found at: www.ahs.ca/ influenza.
"What is important to point out, is that the flu is there, it is serious and is already sending people to the hospital. The message we all need to take away is simple: get vaccinated. It will protect you, your family and our communities, "said Hu.