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Alberta goes from 8,470 flu cases in 2019-20 to ‘zero’ this season

Alberta Health Services said its data from the recent flu season, spanning September 27, 2020, to March 20, 2021, confirmed zero cases.

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As COVID-19 variants continue to make up a larger percentage of Alberta’s total caseloads, the province has yet to record a single influenza case.

The previous flu season saw the province accumulate 8,470 total cases from August 25, 2019, to May 2, 2020, including 1,534 hospitalizations and 39 deaths.

Alberta Health Services said its data from the recent flu season, spanning September 27, 2020, to March 20, 2021, confirmed zero cases. 

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan said the number of flu tests completed in Alberta from August 23, 2020, to March 20, 2021, is approximately 107,820, nearly two and a half times the total tests from the previous flu season, where Albertans performed 39,793 flu tests from August 25, 2019, to March 21, 2020.

“We have screened far more tests for influenza, which makes the current results all the more noteworthy,” said McMillan.

Each flu season, patients are tested for influenza at doctor offices, hospitals, and now at some COVID-19 testing centres around Alberta.

Scientists observed this unusual flu season across Canada and not in Alberta alone.

Health Canada statistics said only 66 influenza cases were reported this season as of March 2020, signifying a dramatic drop off in flu cases. 

This year, experts have minimal data to determine next season’s flu shot formula, and as such, there is no way to gauge its effectiveness.

It’s worth noting the flu test is distinct from COVID-19.

Dr. James Dickinson said there is no way that positive flu cases are confused for the pandemic virus.

“These are very different. They’re very specific tests,” he said.

There isn’t any apparent reason why Albertans haven’t had the flu, said Dickinson, a professor at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, who spearheads the Alberta community influenza surveillance program.

He stipulates there will not be a complete answer until neighbouring provinces and countries compare data at the end of the season.

Dickinson said visitors who frequent from the southern hemisphere, where the flu season ended, spread influenza; however, public health measures have seen a noticeable decline in international travel.

“It hasn’t been able to spread because of our social distancing and hygiene precautions,” he said.

“It’s not just stopped the flu, it stopped a whole variety of other respiratory infections that normally circulate in the winter season,” Dickinson said.

With the province likely to face a third wave of the COVID-19 virus, the lack of other illnesses prevents the province’s hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    August 17, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    Not that flu cases declined or disappeared, just flawed testing, like the China flu, spin it enough you can get whatever numbers you want.

  2. Ken

    March 31, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Seems to me this might have been published a couple days early.

  3. Left Coast

    March 31, 2021 at 8:58 am

    This is a fraud . . . ALL Flu deaths and many elderly who died with co-morbidities were classified as Covid aka Wuhan Flu.
    The Low Intellect Politicians have no friggin clue . . .

    In the US Hospitals received substantial Cash for each Covid death . . . so everything became Covid . . . even motorcycle accidents and shootings.

    How long are the Thinking Folks going to put up with this lunacy?

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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