'Historic' flu season, says CHEO
CHEO has documented a sharp rise in the number of infants with respiratory syncytial virus.
Once again, Children's Hospital of East #x27;Ontario (CHEO) is sounding the alarm. Since last September, the regional laboratory of this hospital establishment says it has identified 992 cases of influenza.
These figures were released by CHEO on Monday in a news release. This is a historic record that exceeds the record of last year, from September 2019 to August 2020, according to this health establishment.
We try to stay calm, but it's the reality we see, says Dr. Anne Pham Huy, infectious disease specialist at CHEO. I see it in the hospital when I do my rounds: there are a lot of very sick young children. It's not just the volume of children who have colds or flus, but the fact that they are sick enough to be hospitalized.
Children's Hospital thus predicts that the upcoming holiday season may be more difficult than ever.
Respiratory illnesses have been more severe and as a result we are seeing more children and more young people coming through the doors of CHEO. The combination of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses make up the vast majority of admissions, CHEO said in a statement.
Since last September, the CHEO regional laboratory has identified 992 cases of influenza. This is another all-time high that surpasses the record from the previous year, from September 2019 to August 2020 (blue line).
In recent days, CHEO says have noticed a dizzying increase in the number of flu cases.
In November alone, we admitted 73 cases of influenza, which is the highest number of cases we have recorded, except for one month during the influenza H1N1, in 2009, says CHEO.
This is in addition to the highest number of admissions ever recorded for RSV in a single month, at 149 cases.
The situation at CHEO is proving quite critical. In early December, the Ottawa Children's Hospital had to call on the Red Cross to come and help its staff.
Unfortunately, no slowdown in throughput or volume is expected as this viral season is not over. In fact, for the flu, it is just beginning. Things could get worse, says CHEO, which is appealing for help.
The management of this health facility asks people to wear a mask in crowded indoor public places, wash their hands and stay home when sick.
CHEO is appealing for assistance due to the current health situation (archives).
CHEO also recommends that people get the flu shot and emphasizes that, again this year, the flu shot can be a real game-changer.
“If we can all together slow the spread of infections in our community, we – at CHEO – can get back to what we need to do to treat children and their families who are waiting for surgery and medical care for other issues [ …] that we simply cannot prevent.
— Excerpt from the CHEO press release
Dr. Huy adds, while it takes about two weeks for a vaccine to reach its full effectiveness. This is the perfect time to get [the influenza vaccine]. We are at a critical time, the storm is coming. […] If we can protect the population as much as possible, that will help, he says.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has opened several flu immunization clinics for children aged 6 months to 5 years, for people who live with them, and for people who have difficulty getting vaccinated elsewhere or who do not are not covered by OHIP.
At pharmacies, the flu shot can also be given to children 2 years of age and older. However, it is recommended to reserve online or call ahead to confirm the availability of the vaccine at the appropriate dosage for children.
On the Outaouais side, the situation is stabilizing, indicated the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) on Monday in a written response.
Currently, there are six children who are hospitalized in pediatrics. Traffic is under control and more stable, said Patricia Rhéaume, communications and media relations advisor at the CISSS de l'Outaouais.