First case of flu reported in Grey Bruce
Grey Bruce Public Health is reporting the area’s first laboratory-confirmed flu case of the 2023-24 respiratory illness season.
A Grey County resident has tested positive for Influenza A, which they likely acquired during out-of-province travel.
This is an earlier-than-usual start to the influenza season in Grey-Bruce, compared to the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the first case of last year’s flu season was confirmed in late September.
“Flu activity in Grey-Bruce typically ramps up in October before peaking between December and February,” says Grey Bruce Public Health Physician Consultant Dr. Rim Zayed.
“To help curb the spread of the flu – and protect our most vulnerable – Grey Bruce Public Health strongly urges people to stay home when sick and get the influenza vaccine as soon as possible. These two measures, coupled with infection control strategies, such as washing hands often, coughing etiquette, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, are our best defense against the flu and other respiratory illnesses.”
This year’s flu vaccine and the XBB.1.5-containing COVID-19 vaccine are both expected to be available to the general public at the end of October. The vaccines will be available through Primary Care Providers and at participating pharmacies. Grey Bruce Public Health will also be holding vaccine clinics for high-risk individuals and those facing barriers to accessing vaccines.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone aged six months and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations also recommends the XBB.1.5-containing COVID-19 vaccine for people aged six months and older. Individuals six months and older are considered up to date on COVID-19 vaccines if they’ve received a dose this fall.
People can get the flu shot and the latest COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines are especially important for people at high risk of developing a severe illness from the respective viruses. This includes:
- Residents of congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes;
- Pregnant individuals;
- People 65 years of age and older;
- Young children;
- Indigenous people; and
- Immunocompromised individuals.
GBPH has received initial doses of both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
They will be made available to the most vulnerable high-risk individuals first, then long-term care and retirement home residents and Indigenous residents before being rolled out to the general public.