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COVID-19 isn’t the only illness Manitoba hospitals will be dealing with this fall and winter.

The province is also dealing with the start of the influenza season, and health officials say they are factoring in the impact of influenza as they deal with their COVID-19 strategy.

“The flu will start circulating now, and the symptoms are very similar to COVID-19, and the vulnerable population is the same, whether it’s influenza or COVID,” Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Shared Health, said on Friday.

“We’re anticipating that they’re going to happen in parallel, and we are preparing for that.”

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said on Friday the province currently isn’t seeing much influenza activity at the moment, and little of any other respiratory virus, aside from COVID-19.

“The precautions that we’re taking to minimize the spread of the COVID virus, is still the right precautions to take to minimize the spread of influenza,” Siragusa said, noting Manitobans should practice strong hand washing, physical distancing, and wear a mask to help stop spreading both illnesses.

Siragusa added Manitobans are being encouraged to get their flu shots this year.