Waterloo Region flu rates falling off after early start to the season
Published Thursday, January 3, 2013 5:39PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 3, 2013 6:31PM EST
Waterloo Region has been hit harder by this year’s flu season than any other community in Ontario, but health officials say the season is winding down.
Four seniors and one infant have died of influenza locally this year.
“Our numbers are still higher than those of the province, and that’s likely primarily due to the fact that we had an earlier start than most other health units,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s associate medical officer of health.
Waterloo Region has seen a total of 230 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza, but the number of new cases is steadily dropping as the season passes its peak.
“What we have seen in the last couple of weeks is that our rate of new cases has started to decrease, while those in other jurisdictions, where the flu season began later, are starting to increase,” said Wang.
While this winter’s flu season has hit Waterloo Region harsher than average, officials say fewer people are getting flu shots both locally and across the province.
At a Thursday flu shot clinic in Waterloo, Scott Sneddon said getting immunized “just makes sense. I’m a retired senior, and I just don’t want to waste the time being in bed.”
It’s expected flu season will last a little while longer yet, and flu shots are still available through pharmacies and family doctors. A final public clinic will be held Jan. 8 in Cambridge.
Syringes containing influenza vaccine are seen in Waterloo, Ont., on Jan. 3, 2013. (Phil Molto / CTV Kitchener)
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