COVID control measures cleave influenza rates in Simcoe Muskoka and province-wide

Lack of flu cases points to high COVID transmission

The measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19 are also impacting the number of flu cases locally, across Ontario, and beyond.

“Indeed, flu numbers are profoundly low. We have had no reported laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in Simcoe Muskoka and almost none in the province as a whole,” said the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner. “This is actually in keeping with the experience in other jurisdictions and, and for that matter in the southern hemisphere.”

While Gardner indicated that COVID-19 control measures are the main factor in the significantly decreased number of influenza cases this flu season, there was also an uptick in the number of people seeking out the flu shot.

Gardner points out that, given the lack of flu cases and the rise in COVID-19 infections, it really speaks to how much more transmissible COVID is. “Given that these measures have been so effective against these other respiratory viruses, I think that really says a lot about just how communicable, how transmissible COVID-19 is that we’re still seeing a rise in cases despite the control measures that we’ve done to date, and really speaks to the importance of redoubling your efforts to control COVID-19 in your daily lives.”

Similar to its daily COVID-19 caseload update, the SMDHU reports on the number of influenza cases across the region. Due to its focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the health unit have scaled back reporting, but the public can view weekly influenza statistics through its website.