Alberta may be free of coronavirus, but there’s another virus making the rounds in the province.
According to Alberta Health Services, 6,809 cases of the flu have been confirmed in Alberta in the 2019/2020 influenza flu season.
This alarming stat comes after last year’s 30 flu-related deaths and over 6,000 confirmed influenza cases by the time all was said and done — numbers that we have now officially surpassed with AHS’ 15th week of reporting, which states that there have now been 32 laboratory-confirmed, in-hospital influenza deaths.
However, both this year’s and last year’s flu seasons pale in comparison to the 2017/2018 season, which reported 92 deaths and over 10,000 confirmed cases of influenza.
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The decrease in illness from 2017/2018 to 2018/2019 may be due to the 75,000 additional doses of vaccine that were administered in the latter season, totalling 1,305,470 throughout the province.
Clinics have been administering the free vaccine for about five months now to 1,391,806 Albertans, though this accounts for just one-third of the province’s total population.
According to the 15th week of data, released on February 27, nearly half of this year’s 32 flu-related deaths took place in Edmonton, though Calgary has seen a higher number of influenza cases overall.
AHS will be releasing weekly data tracking confirmed cases, locations, deaths related to, and more in regards to the spread of the virus.
Unlike for coronavirus, immunizations for the influenza virus are available to all Albertans over the age of five, free of charge, at any AHS clinic, pharmacist, or physician, and take only about half an hour to get.