The early months of the year mark the peak of flu season in Canada. In 2022, Canada already saw the worst of Covid. However, in 2023, physicians are bracing for more hospitalizations. This is largely due to a spike in COVID-19.
Canada’s medical data for the last year shows that colds and influenza continue to circulate nationally. But, the flu has declined sharply since the end of November.
The recent figures from different provinces show a steady drop in influenza. The federal data released on Friday confirmed that the flu activity has declined. The weekly percentage of positive flu tests has dropped from 13 percent during the 2nd-last week of December. It was less than nine percent in the last week of 2022.
Virologic data in Canada show that in week 52 in the year 2022, 2,841 laboratories detected 2,818 influenza A and 23 influenza B. And, among the detections, 40% were individuals aged 65+ age-old. Plus, this was an increase from 32% in week 51. However, it hit hard because of also putting high numbers of children in hospital last fall.
Throughout flu season, about 1,500 pediatric influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported. And this included 183 children in intensive care. There were also six influenza-associated pediatric deaths. Additionally, the latest federal data suggests the full count among the provinces can be higher.
Again, in Canada’s yearly medical data, the syndromic report on flu shows that the percentage of visits for influenza-like illness was 3.2% in week 52. Also, the percentage of FluWatchers reporting fever and cough was 2.1 percent in week 52.
Flu outbreaks mainly occurred in Canada from August 28, 2022, to December 31, 2022. This was the weeks 35 to 52. So, the weekly number of influenza-associated hospitalizations among the pediatric population had declined from the peak in week 48. And it is within levels typical of this time of year.
Recent Medical Data Readings in Canada
Federal data shows an uptick in SARS-CoV-2 tests. This is across multiple regions in Canada at the end of 2022. Partly, the concern stems from the spread of highly transmissible Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.
Booster shots may help ward off flu infection. And McGeer warned that anyone who skipped out on the updated vaccines could be at risk. Covid may continue to make the situation in hospitals difficult in Canada.