The influenza vaccine will be available at no cost starting Monday in Alberta. “The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Hinshaw urges Albertans to get flu shot as COVID cases jump by 332

Alberta’s central zone now has 132 active COVID-19 cases

The province’s chief medical officer of health is asking Albertans to get their flu shot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Influenza is not new like COVID-19, but it is very serious. Last winter, almost 8,500 Albertans contracted the flu, and ultimately, 41 died,” Deena Hinshaw said during a COVID-19 update Friday afternoon.

“Getting immunized is an easy way to protect your health. The flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce your chances of getting influenza and spreading it to others.”

The provincial government announced 332 new COVID-19 cases Friday. There are currently 2,836 active cases, 18,651 recovered cases and 288 deaths caused by the virus in Alberta.

Hinshaw said people getting immunized will help support Alberta’s pandemic response.

“We can’t yet prevent COVID-19 with a vaccine, but we can help stop the flu from taxing our health system,” she said.

“The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs.”

Starting Monday, the influenza vaccine will be available at participating pharmacies and doctor’s offices for anyone over the age of five, said Hinshaw.

The City of Red Deer now has 35 COVID-19 cases, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. This is four more active cases than in Thursday’s update.

Meanwhile, Ponoka County has 39 active cases, the City of Lacombe has 12, Lacombe County and Mountain View County both have nine, Red Deer County has five, Olds has four and Sylvan Lake has two.

The central zone sits at 132 active cases, which is the lowest of all Alberta Health Services zones.

The Edmonton zone has 1,525 active cases, Calgary has 820, the south zone has 202, the north zone has 145 and 12 are located in an unknown location.

The City of Calgary is been placed on the government’s virus watch list, said Hinshaw.

“We have recently seen several outbreaks in that city linked to social gatherings, and this is yet another reminder that no region is immune from this virus and that one case can quickly lead to many if restrictions are not followed.”

Hinshaw said she is not recommending any additional measures for Calgary, “but we are working with local partners to monitor the situation closely.”

Provincially, 117 people are hospitalized due to the virus – 11 of those individuals have been admitted into an intensive care unit. The central zone has three hospitalizations, but none are in ICUs.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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