vials of flu vaccine

This Version Posted: March 25, 2022

Health Unit Reports First Lab-Confirmed Influenza Case in its Region in the Past Two Years

PORT HOPE, ON (March 24, 2022) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is reporting its first case of influenza for the 2021-22 flu season in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County.

This is the first lab-confirmed case of influenza in two years, since no flu activity was reported across the Health Unit region during the 2020/21 influenza season.

“Typically, we have many more influenza cases in our region much earlier in the flu season, but this is something else that the pandemic has turned upside down,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Given the prevalence of COVID-19, especially the highly-infectious Omicron variant, it’s little wonder that influenza has been crowded out over the past two winters.”

Public health precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 have also helped to limit the spread of other respiratory illnesses like influenza, she adds.

“Measures like masking, physical distancing, increased handwashing and limits on gatherings not only help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but are very effective to protect against influenza,” Dr. Bocking notes.

With influenza now circulating in the region and most COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the Health Unit encourages area residents to keep up their efforts to stop the spread of illness.

Vaccination continues to be the best defense against influenza and COVID-19. The influenza vaccine is safe, effective and still available at local pharmacies and health care providers. “It is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, so if you’re receiving your flu shot and still have yet to receive a first, second or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time to get them,” Dr. Bocking adds.

To further stop the spread of illness, the Health Unit also advises:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Sneezing and coughing into your sleeve.
  • Staying home from work and school if you are sick.
  • Keeping your body’s immune system strong by eating well, getting sufficient sleep and being physically active.

For media inquiries, contact:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communications and IT Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca,

or

Bill Eekhof, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1225, beekhof@hkpr.on.ca