With the first confirmed case of influenza in the area since April, 2020, local health officials are urging people to get vaccinated. This will both help alleviate individual illnesses and the potential for a double hit on the healthcare system.
“We definitely don’t want anyone to contract both of those things, but we also don’t want to see a big surge in flu cases at the same time that the health care system is dealing with COVID,” said Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health spokesperson Danny Williamson. “We don’t want to put that additional strain on the system if we can avoid it.”
Public health announced the area’s first lab-confirmed case of the flu on Thursday. Williamson confirmed the case is in Guelph.
While that case is a result of travel outside the province, local residents are being warned to expect a resurgence of flu cases this fall as the pandemic-related gathering restrictions are lifted.
“This isn’t unexpected,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, WDG Public Health’s medical officer of health, in a news release. “The pandemic caused a significant decline in reported flu cases, but the flu never left us.”
The health unit will be hosting several combined COVID-19 and flu shot clinics beginning Monday. Flu shots are also available through primary care providers and participating local pharmacies.
“It's more important than ever to get your flu shot to reduce your risk of serious illness and protect the vulnerable people in your life,” said Mercer.
For more information about the upcoming clinics, visit the health unit's booking website.