Calgary hospitals still busy with flu patients
The latest numbers from Alberta Health Services show Calgarians are still battling it out with the flu, with two separate outbreaks taking place this past week.
Health officials are now reminding people to once again get immunized if you haven't already done so.
Some organizations, like the Calgary Drop-In Centre, are offering vitamins, disinfectant wipes and free vaccination to its clients.
Executive director Debbie Newman says the centre has learned its lesson from the past.
"We've gone through it before and encountered problems," Newman said. We've had IV bags taped to walls with duct tape -- the whole building was shut down," Newman explained.
Calgary's emergency rooms have been busy with people seeking relief from the flu and other bugs like the Norwalk virus.
In December, Emergency Medical Services experienced a 15 per cent spike in calls over last December largely due to seasonal illnesses.
"It was very busy December…crews did a great job, providing patients care and moving people to hospitals," Darren Sandbeck, an EMS worker in Calgary.
Last week, it was so busy at emergency departments that officials had to cancel nine elective surgeries. This week, so far only one surgery has been cancelled, but health officials say flu season is far from over.
"We still are seeing positives — 72 laboratory positives in Calgary last week and they continue into this week as well as outbreak activity, so if people have not been immunized, it really is the best way to protect yourself against influenza," said Dr. Judy MacDonald with Alberta Health Services.
A recent study shows that this year's vaccine is 50 per cent effective against the H3N2 virus which is the most prevalent in Calgary.
Health officials say they will continue to monitor the demand for this vaccine and open additional clinics as needed.