Flu levels remain elevated

Early 2020 infection rate higher than median

The flu season is in full swing in the Bulkley Valley.

The latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said influenza test positivity remained elevated in BC with continued co-circulation of both influenza A and B viruses.

“The numbers of lab-confirmed cases of flu only tell part of the story, as not everyone who has or is suspected of having influenza would actually be tested,” said Medical Health Officer for Northern Health Rakel Kling. “We have some surveillance data that points to the numbers of confirmed cases in the region. Unfortunately, the Health Authority regional picture that is included in regular BCCDC updates was dropped from the most recent surveillance report, but the report from earlier in January showed that Northern Health had seen a spike in activity, and that it was somewhat above the 10-year median.

“Anecdotally, we have heard from a number of communities that influenza is circulating widely, but that also requires the context that some people may in fact be suffering from other viruses, which are also circulating at this time of year such as the common cold.”

She said there are precautions to take to avoid getting sick, whether it is for the flu or the coronavirus.

“The best way to prevent the flu is making sure to wash your hands very regularly, coughing into your sleeve or elbow and making sure to stay home if you are sick,” she said.

Common symptoms for the flu are fever, cough, chills, fatigue and generally feeling very unwell.

She added it is not too late to get the flu shot.

“It is available all flu season and it provides protection against the flu. The best places to check where to get your flu shot is your local primary care provider, your pharmacist. You are also check online on Northern Health’s website or immunizebc.ca.”

Meanwhile, Northern Health has sent out a letter to parents of school-aged children with information about COVID-19 formerly called 2019-nCoV or the corona virus, a new virus causing respiratory illness. The letter said Northern Health is sending out information because some parents are concerned about the risk to their families.

Northern Health is recommending students or staff returning from Hubei Province, China, as well as other parts of China consider staying home for 14 days after they left Hubei. Students or staff who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV should also consider staying home for 14 days after their last encounter.

See full coverage of COVID-19 on Page A3.

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