There is some good news in the latest flu numbers but there is also a warning.
As of Friday, there are nearly 1,200 lab confirmed cases of flu, 60 people remain in intensive care in hospital and there have been 16 deaths.
The province’s deputy chief medical health officer, Dr. Denise Werker, says the first wave of the H1N1 infections appears to have peaked.
There have been no new deaths in the last week and only three new admissions to intensive care – one of them a child.
Dr. Werker says an extraordinary effort will be made over the next 10 days to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
“We really are at a turning point,” she says. “We have a limited opportunity to get vaccine into people. Feb. 10 is the turning point for us.”
After this date, flu clinics being held all over the province will end and although vaccines will still be available, Dr. Werker says she expects a second wave of flu to hit by March.
As such, she is encouraging people to get protected now.
“It takes two weeks to be protected after a flu shot and so if we don’t get vaccine into people by Feb. 10, we know that the value is going to be limited from a public health perspective.”
Vaccines are available province wide.
In remote areas or on reserves, people are advised to phone their local health clinic.
Saskatchewan currently has a good supply of vaccine and clinics are open to everyone.
The most vulnerable groups for the flu are children under the age of five and pregnant women.
After Feb. 10, it will be a little more difficult to get the shot and you run the risk of getting it too late to protect against an anticipated second wave of infections.