Manitoba finds its first flu case of the season

Manitoba has found its first — and only so far — case of influenza this season.

During the week of Dec. 6 to Dec. 12, the province confirmed a single laboratory case of Influenza B, Manitoba Public Health declared on its website.

In other years, it is common for the province to discover dozens of flu cases per week. Public health officials say they expected lower flu counts this season because of efforts taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“The good thing is that the measures that we take to protect ourselves against COVID also protect ourselves against influenza,” chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said in November.

Those measures include hand-washing and physical distancing. As well, 27 per cent of Manitobans have been immunized against the flu this season.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials feared hospitals would be forced to contend with an influx of both COVID-19 and flu patients. 

As of Thursday, Manitoba hospitals were treating 346 COVID-19 patients and no flu patients.

Southern-hemisphere nations such as Australia and New Zealand experienced very mild flu seasons during their winters.

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