The flu season in Hamilton — the worst in years, according to the city — appears to be ebbing.
On Friday, city health officials reported 58 laboratory-confirmed cases of Influenza A for the week, about half of the total reported the week before.
"The outbreak is starting to decline," said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, the city's associate medical officer of health. "However, there are still a number of people who are still sick and the virus is still being transmitted."
She said that though city officials believe the current flu outbreak has peaked, the number of cases could rise again.
"It's not to say we won't see a second of wave of the flu, because there is another strain of the virus," Dr. Meghani said.
"It's still important for people to get vaccinated."
This flu season has been more severe and came earlier than the last, according to Hamilton public health officials.
"Last week, we saw more than double the confirmed cases of flu than what we'd seen in any given week in the past five years," Jordan Walker, manager of infectious diseases for Hamilton Public Health Services, told CBC Hamilton on Monday.
The city registered its first case Nov. 9 and the number of reported infections ramped up in late-December.
"We usually see flu outbreaks start in early January and February," Meghani noted.
The harsher-than-normal flu season has resulted in a nationwide shortage of Tamiflu, a drug used to treat those infected with the virus.
In response to the scarcity, Hamilton hospitals have brought some their Tamiflu supply out of reserve. The retail pharmacy at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton Charlton campus (50 Charlton Ave. E) will fill prescriptions for Hamiltonians whose local drug stores have run out of the medication.
The pharmacy's hours for the weekend of Jan. 11-13 are as follows:
- Jan. 11 — 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Jan. 12 — 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Jan. 13 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.