CORNWALL, Ontario – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region has seen zero cases of the common flu since September of 2020.
This number is far lower than historical averages of flu cases in the region. In response to an inquiry from Seaway News the EOHU provided the total number of cases of flu reported to the health unit from 2017 to the present.
From Aug. 27, 2017 to Aug. 28, 2018 there were 284 cases of common influenza (flu).
The EOHU then provided numbers for the subsequent two years. From Sept. 2018 to Aug. 31, 2020 there were 341 cases of the flu, and as stated the 2020 flu season saw no cases at all.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health with the EOHU credited the public health measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic with keeping common flu cases down.
“We haven’t had any flu cases this year. I believe that the public health measures we took prevented the flu as well we vaccinated more people this year,” he said.
Dr. Roumeliotis went on to comment that the health unit region had also seen a steep decrease in other respiratory illnesses, further supporting evidence that public health measures such as mask wearing and social distancing were effective in combating the spread of common respiratory illness.
While effective in stopping the spread of common respiratory diseases like the seasonal influenza virus, these public health measures have been less effective in stamping out COVID-19 which is more contagious and is more effective at attacking the human immune system due to being a new virus.
As of Friday, April 2 there were 355 active COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region, with 3425 total cases since March of 2020. As of Friday there were 32 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, eight of whom were in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There have been 82 deaths due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.