A flu outbreak has prompted health officials to close a ward at the Stollery Childrens' Hospital in Edmonton.

The ward has been placed in isolation, which is standard procedure when there are more than two cases. 

"We have three cases of influenza in one of our units there," said Dr. Gerry Predy, the province's chief medical officer of health. "So we've had to close the unit to new admissions, again just to protect kids coming into the hospital from being exposed to influenza."

Dr. Gerry Predy

Dr. Gerry Predy, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says a unit at the Stollery Childrens' Hospital was closed after three patients got the flu. (CBC )

The ward could be closed for about a week. 

Flu has also led the University of Alberta Hospital to cancel four cardiac surgeries because a specialist was called away to deal with a severe H1N1 case. The hospital plans to reschedule the procedures as soon as possible. 

"They were elective procedures, which means they weren't urgent, urgent ones," Predy said. "But of course we recognize the for the individuals and the families involved to put off surgeries is not something that's easy to accept."

Take outbreak seriously, get a flu shot 

Predy says Albertans should take the surge in H1N1 cases seriously and get a flu shot.

“People should be worried and we're happy to see that they're coming forward and being vaccinated,” Predy said.

“It creates a little more worry, I guess, because the behaviour so far has been that it does cause a disproportionate amount of illness, particularly serious illness in younger people.”

There are 662 lab-confirmed cases of flu in Alberta. 621 of them are H1N1. The actual number is likely higher since tests are performed only on the most severe cases.

Flu vaccination clinics will be held Friday at the Northgate and Bonnie Doon Health Centres from 9 to 4:30 p.m. 

Alberta Health Services announced that more clinics will open next week.

Jan. 7

  • West Jasper Place Health Clinic from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Northgate Health Centre from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Jan. 10

  • Northgate Health Centre 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Bonnie Doon Health Centre 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

People can also get flu shots at pharmacies and doctor's offices.