N.L. reports second flu-related death

A second person has died of flu-related complications this season, Newfoundland and Labrador health officials confirmed Monday.
A nurse prepares a flu shot at a clinic in St. John's. (CBC )

A second person has died of flu-related complications this season, Newfoundland and Labrador health officials confirmed Monday.

They also said the person, in their 40s, died this past weekend and had underlying medical conditions. The first death, reported early last week, also involved other complications. Officials would only say that person was over the age of 16.

News of a second death was revealed Monday during a briefing with health officials on the latest flu numbers.

As of Monday morning, there were 182 flu cases this season and 40 hospitalizations. By comparison, this time last year there were more than 400 flu cases and nine deaths.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan said there is now more flu vaccine available. She said targeted groups are being expanded beyond those at high risk, to include healthy people between the ages of two and 59.

"We are targeting this wider group as this year's dominant influenza strain, H1N1, tends to have a greater impact on healthy adults ... so we want to ensure we are offering coverage to this demographic," Sullivan said.

There will be flu clinics in every region of the province starting Tuesday.​

The government is also now offering the vaccine through a nasal spray.

Newfoundland and Labrador is bringing in more than 80,000 doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks after higher-than-normal demand this year exhausted the initial supply.

Eastern Health — the province's largest health authority  — held clinics in Mount Pearl and St. John's over the weekend to address the spike in demand, using them to reach pregnant women and children between six months and five years of age — two groups considered to be at higher risk.