Big drop in flu numbers since seasonal peak thus far

CLARIFICATION NOTE: The numbers described in this story refer to the total number of lab-confirmed flu cases in Ottawa so far this flu season. Ottawa Public Health says the expected seasonal peak has not yet been reached.

There’s been a big drop in the number of flu cases on Ottawa, according to new data from Ottawa Public Health.

Their report for the week ending March 9 shows there were 33 lab-confirmed cases of Influenza in Ottawa, 83 fewer cases than just the week before. The seasonal peak thus far was around February 23, when there were 118 cases.

Ottawa Public Health tells CTV News, however, the expected peak for the entire 2017-18 flu season has not yet been reached.

"The activity is still high for the flu," says Dr. Genevieve Cadieux, the associate medica officer of health for OPH. "We haven't seen signs that it is slowing down, so there's still time for people, especially at high risk to get their flu shot."

58.1% of all flu cases in Ottawa thus far have been Influenza A.

Since September 1, 2017, when the flu season began, there have been 915 lab-confirmed cases of Influenza in Ottawa, which is up from 721 by this time last flu season. 58.3% of those have been in people over the age of 65. There have been 30 cases of the flu in babies less than 1 year old, and 112 cases in children and teens 1-19.

There are 15 ongoing respiratory outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes, and hospitals in the City, OPH says. There was one new, non-influenza outbreak last week, compared to 10 total outbreaks the week before (4 Influenza A, 3 Influenza B, and 3 non-Influenza cases). 69 of 106 respiratory outbreaks at long-term care facilities so far this season have been some variety of influenza (either A, B, or both). The seasonal peak for outbreaks in LTC homes and hospitals was around January 12, when there were 14 outbreaks reported.

31 people have died from the flu so far this season, all but four of them 65 or older. The four cases in people 18 to 64 involved other, underlying health issues, Ottawa Public Health says.

With files from CTV's Joanne Schnurr.