Influenza continues to make its way through the province, with the Calgary Zone, which includes Okotoks, still accounting for the most flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The latest flu numbers, which include activity up to Jan. 6 show 762 of the 1,570 provincial influenza related hospitalizations came from the Calgary zone.

Of the 31 deaths recorded so far this flu season, 16 have been in the Calgary zone.

Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary Medical Officer of Health says it's too early to tell if we've seen the worst of the flu season.

"With respect to where we are, have we peaked yet? It's too early to say. It does look like our numbers are maybe coming down a little bit when we look at lab confirmed cases compared to previous weeks, but I'd sure like to have little bit more time and data to say that with more certainty."

MacDonald says every year there is always a question about how much protection the vaccine provides, however it's still too early to have solid Canadian data.

Those numbers will be available either late this month, or in February, MacDonald explains there are four strains of influenza found in this year's vaccine, two influenza A, and two influenza B strains.

"This year so far what we're seeing is influenza A H3, we're also seeing influenza B. Influenza A H3 is a difficult virus to battle because it does change quite frequently so it is hard to match it in a vaccine. It is possible that it maybe isn't as good as we would like to be, we don't know for sure yet but it's possible. However we're also seeing influenza B, what we do know is the influenza B strains that are in the vaccine, the vaccine is good to protect against influenza B that's circulating. It may not be perfect, but influenza is not a disease to be trifled with, and that vaccine is the best way to protect yourself even if it's not the best match."

Even if the vaccine weren't the best match, it's still beneficial to be immunized.

"It's very likely that even if you're immunized and unfortunately contract influenza, you may well be less sick than you would have been if you weren't immunized at all. You may still get some benefit, you'll still have some antibodies there."

MacDonald stresses the vaccine is still available, and encourages anyone who hasn't received immunization to do so.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

More Local News

Hundreds of Entries Pour in for Local Film Festival

Filmmakers from throughout the world have submitted hundreds of independent films in hopes of making the cut for this year's Okotoks Film Festival. Festival Director Katie Fournell says last year…

Okotoks Museum Ready For Earth Hour Guided Walk

Okotoks residents can help conserve energy while learning about town for Earth Hour. The Okotoks Museum is hosting their annual guided walk for Earth Hour this weekend in recognition of the occasion…

Fortis Crews Replacing Transformers in Town Today

FortisAlberta crews will be replacing some aging transformers in town today, resulting in power outages for some residents. Alana Antonelli, manager of corporate communications for FortisAlberta,…

Okotoks Fire Department Responds To Structure Collapse

A variety of calls for the Okotoks Fire Department this past week, including a response to a structure collapse. On Monday, they responded to an indoor riding arena that had caved in at JM Equestrian…

Spring Has Finally Sprung

Although the piles of snow lingering around town might say otherwise, spring is officially here. Tuesday marked the first official day of spring. Natalie Hassel, Meteorologist with Environment…

RCMP Looking For Missing Boat Motor

High River Mounties are turning to the public for help in finding a very expensive boat motor. Sometime late Wednesday, March 21 or early Thursday, March 22, a pontoon boat and trailer were stolen…

Okotoks Invited To Celebrate Bearcat

A tribute is taking place for a man well known in Okotoks and the sports community. The event is taking place in Cochrane as a way to thank Jim 'Bearcat' Murray and acknowledge all the work he's done… is Okotoks' only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Bodies of Work: A Portrait & Figurative Exhibition at Leighton Art Centre

10 March 2018 10:00 am - 14 April 2018 4:00 pm

Leighton Art Centre, Millarville


10 March 2018 12:00 pm - 29 May 2018 6:00 pm

Lineham House Galleries, Okotoks


17 March 2018 12:00 pm - 05 June 2018 6:00 pm

Lineham House Galleries, Okotoks

Auctioneering Course

23 March 2018 9:00 am - 01 April 2018 3:00 pm


Okotoks Mom Sale

24 March 2018 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Foothills Centennial Centre, Okotoks

Create Together: Flat Needle Felted Images

24 March 2018 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Leighton Art Centre, Millarville

Discover Series: Traditional Rug Hooking - Learning the Basics with Holly Kingdon

24 March 2018 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Leighton Art Centre, Millarville