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Influenza in Alberta: Cases continue to decline as seasonal deaths surpass 100 mark

 A flu vaccine is readied on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTV’s Your Morning Thursday that with the growing number of flu cases across the country, it’s paramount that all families receive their flu shots. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File) A flu vaccine is readied on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTV’s Your Morning Thursday that with the growing number of flu cases across the country, it’s paramount that all families receive their flu shots. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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In a one-week period, six more Albertans died from influenza, according to the latest data from health officials, while newly reported cases decreased for the ninth week in a row since the peak in mid-November.

The total of 102 deaths to date makes the current flu season the second-highest of 14 flu seasons in the province. The 2014-15 season had the highest number of deaths, with 114.

The six people who died were all seniors. Three were between the ages of 60-69, one was aged 70-79 years old, another was between the ages of 80-89, while one was 90 years or older.

The Calgary zone reported three deaths, while the Edmonton zone, North zone and South zone reported one each.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

This influenza season, 1,979 Albertans have required hospital care. There were 14 new admissions in the latest update.

To date, this season has the third-highest number of hospitalizations in 14 seasons.

The Calgary zone has had the most patients requiring hospital care with 749, followed by the Edmonton zone’s 546.

Of the 14 new admissions between Jan. 15 and 21, 11 per cent were aged nine or younger. Fifty-seven per cent were aged 60 or older.

To date, 205 people have required intensive care, an increase of three since the last update. The majority of ICU patients have also been in the Calgary zone.

All three of the new ICU admissions this week are people 50 years or older.

CASES

New cases of influenza dropped for the ninth week straight after Alberta reported 58 new infections on Thursday.

According to Alberta Health data, this season has the second-highest number of cases in 14 seasons, with a total of 8,643 infections so far. The 2017-18 flu season had the highest number of cases with 9,115.

The Calgary zone has the highest number of influenza cases in the province, with a total of 2,905 so far this season.

The Edmonton zone has the second-highest number of cases in Alberta with 2,461.

The Central zone has had 1,038 cases, the North zone has reported 1,545 cases, while the South zone has counted 671. Six cases have not been assigned a zone.

Influenza A has made up 99.4 per cent of this season’s laboratory-confirmed cases.

OUTBREAKS AND VACCINATIONS

There have been a total of 93 outbreaks in Alberta so far this season, an increase of one. Fifty-six per cent have been at supportive living and home living sites.

More than 1.2 million influenza vaccines have been administered since Oct. 17, translating to 27.1 per cent of Albertans being immunized. There are also 61,601 more people vaccinated compared to this time last year.

Of Albertans aged 65 or older, 63.3 per cent have been vaccinated for influenza, while 26 per cent of children between six months and four years have their vaccine.

Alberta updates its influenza data on Thursdays.

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