First flu-related death in Windsor area confirmed by health unit

The health unit is urging people to get a flu shot after confirming the area's first influenza death.

Officials urging people to get vaccinated during a 'very difficult' flu season

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says it addresses public health needs which are specific to the region. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has confirmed the death of one person due to the influenza virus, as trips to emergency rooms in the region spiked over the last two weeks.

Officials said the person was a senior and was over 65 years old.

The health unit is urging people to get a flu shot, following a warning from Ontario's health minister that this would be a "very difficult" season for the virus. 

This is the first death reported in the region, with officials saying one person died during the last flu season.

"As always it's important to be protected from the risks associated with the flu season in Ontario" said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"Lower your risk and the risk of those around you by getting the flu vaccine. The best time to get vaccinated is now."

Hospitals see spike in visits

The number of people visiting the ER in Windsor-Essex nearly doubled in the weeks after Christmas, according to the WECHU.

That's causing a greater wait for patients in the ER.

"It's a prolonged wait in the emergency room," said Windsor Regional Hospital's chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad.

"You may contract an illness from someone waiting who may be sicker than you, and you may spread what you have to others in the emergency room as well."

According to WECHU, there have been 149,660 doses of the flu vaccine distributed throughout Windsor and Essex County this year.


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