Flu season may have peaked, Ontario’s top doctor says

The flu season may have peaked in Ontario, the province’s top doctor said Thursday.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore believes flu season hit its apex in recent days.

The number of people testing positive for influenza decreased last week up to Dec. 10 and test positivity has also gone down, he said.

“That again, gives me some hope that we’re at a flex moment where we may be on a decline and see decreased burden of illness in our communities from influenza,” Moore told The Canadian Press.

Read more: Paramedics warn overwhelmed Ontario hospitals causing spillover effects, fewer ambulances

Respiratory illnesses have overwhelmed children’s hospitals across the province over the past two months, with the flu accounting for the bulk of recent admissions at many of the country’s pediatric hospitals.

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Major pediatric hospitals have cancelled surgeries in order to redeploy staff to help out intensive care units and emergency departments.

Moore said there has also been a slight decrease in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, circulating, although he warned that virus will persist for months and continue to put pressure on children’s hospitals.

Provincial data shows there has been a sharp decline in emergency department visits across the province for children with respiratory illnesses.

Click to play video: 'Hospitals warn of worsening situation as influenza rates rise'

Hospitals warn of worsening situation as influenza rates rise

“The number of children getting admitted to hospital has shown steady decline, which I watch on a daily basis and only hope that that continues to take pressure off families and children and our health-care system,” Moore said.

He said he expects a sharp decrease for the flu to continue if it behaves like it did in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere in their winters.

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The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 peaked in October with about 2,000 patients, he said. Now there are about 1,100 to 1,200 people in hospital with the disease over recent days.

“There is some good news, and I know our health system is working day in, day out to provide care to Ontarians, but from my vantage point looking at data at a population level in Ontario, some of the trends are heading in a better direction and I do think that there may be less pressure on the acute care sector in the coming days,” Moore said.

&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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