Although visitation to many health-care facilities is still restricted across the eastern region, there is hope that the spread and severity of the flu this year has reached a plateau.
Dr. David Allison, medical officer of health for the eastern region, predicts what is yet to come is quite difficult.
“The situation is very fluid and the information changes on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “We think we’ve plateaued in terms of the number of positive tests coming in, the number of outbreaks being reported. And we’re seeing some of the places we put under visitor restrictions coming off.”
That being said, Eastern Health just put restrictions on yet another of its facilities as of publication time, illustrating just how unpredictable the situation is.
Allison said this has been somewhat of a unique year for influenza.
“It’s come earlier. it seems to have spread very rapidly through the population.”
Usually, the height of the influenza outbreak takes place in February, March or April.
However, because the spread seemed to heighten over the Christmas break, there hasn’t been an outbreak in schools yet this year, says Allison. And there is concern that now, with students back in those confined areas, a school outbreak is imminent.
In a weekly flu report by the provincial Department of Health and Community Services, there were 110 cases of influenza reported across the province by regional health authorities during the week of Dec. 30 to Jan. 5.
The total number of reported incidents of influenza for the province to that date was 179. So more than 60 per cent of the reported flu incidents in the province for the year occurred during that one week. Furthermore, 46 of the 60 hospitalizations due to influenza reported by regional health authorities for this season occurred within that week.
There have been 26 outbreaks in the eastern region thus far, which shows the intensity of the outbreak, Allison said.