The number of lab-confirmed flu cases is continuing to rise in the area. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reports there were 60 new cases between January 14th and 20th, up from 48 new cases the week before. Also during the third week of January, three institutional outbreaks were declared, which brings the total to 22 for this flu season.

As of January 23rd, the health unit had 315 confirmed cases of the flu.

The health unit declared widespread influenza in the area two weeks ago, which is based on emergency room visits, lab-confirmed flu cases, institutional outbreaks and doctor reports of fever and flu-like illness. The declaration means the health unit had to inform the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Public Health Ontario of the situation. The health unit says we are at, or near, the peak of flu season in the area which could last anywhere from two to four weeks.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is taking steps to help lower the risk of flu exposure. It is continuing its surveillance at patient registration and the emergency room for patients with flu-like symptoms. Anyone with a sudden fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and muscle pain must wear a mask.