Alberta reports 21 influenza deaths, raises season total to 45

The number of influenza deaths in the province has nearly doubled in the span of one week, according to the latest data update from health officials.

Last week 24 Albertans had died because of the virus. This week’s update included 21 new deaths bringing the provincial total to 45.

The number of deaths this season is now the highest of the last three flu seasons.

On Thursday, Alberta Health released data showing the deaths included one adult and twenty seniors.

The adult was between the ages of 50-59.

Of the seniors, six were between the ages of 60-69, eight were between the ages of 70-79, five were in the 80-89 age range, while one was 90 years or older.

Seven of the deaths were in the Calgary zone, five were in the Edmonton zone, four were in the South zone, three in the North zone, while the Central zone reported two.

Along with the deaths are increases in influenza cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

This influenza season, 1,413 Albertans have required hospital care compared to last year’s 523. There are 289 new admissions this week, or a 26 per cent increase.

The Calgary zone has had the most patients requiring hospital care this season, with 572, followed by the Edmonton zone’s 426.

Of the 289 new admissions between Dec. 4 to Dec. 10, 23 per cent are under the age of nine. Fifty-six per cent are aged 60 or older.

To date, 140 people have required intensive care, an increase of 28. The majority of ICU patients have been in the Calgary zone.

The majority (18) of new ICU admissions are people 50 years or older. Six children aged nine or younger have also been admitted.

Alberta added more than 800 cases bringing the provincial total to 7,109 so far this season. This week cases increased by 13 per cent compared to 22 per cent the week prior.

According to Alberta Health data, this season to date has the fourth-highest number of cases in 14 seasons.

Calgary zone has the highest number of influenza cases in the province, with a total of 2,488 so far this season. Of those, 255 are new.

The Edmonton zone has the second-highest number of cases in Alberta, with 2,145. Of those, 155 are new.

The Central zone has 795 cases, the North zone reported 1,282 cases, while the South zone has 393. Six cases have not been assigned a zone.

There have been a total of 54 outbreaks in Alberta so far this season, and an increase of 16. Fifty-four per cent have been at supportive living and home living sites.

Over 1.1 million influenza vaccines have been administered since Oct. 17, translating to 25.2 per cent of Albertans being immunized. There are also 41,126 more people vaccinated compared to this time last year.

Nearly 64 per cent of Albertans 65 years or older have been vaccinated for influenza, while 20 per cent of children between six months and four years have their vaccine.

Alberta will update its data next Thursday.

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