There are more people being admitted to hospital than usual, especially in the Whitehorse area, as the early-arriving respiratory illness season ramps up.
The respiratory surveillance report from Nov. 4 has the details.
The reports states: “Respiratory virus activity has increased in recent weeks in the Yukon.
“For COVID-19 in particular, per cent positivity and urban hospitalization rates are higher than previous years.
“Respiratory cases are present across the territory, with most indicators highest in Whitehorse. (There are increases in urban hospitalization rates in particular.)
“COVID-19 test positivity increased compared to the previous two weeks, and was highest in the Whitehorse area,” the report says.
Influenza A and B cases are stable and not increasing, as are RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) cases. That virus mimics the common cold in its effects.
Testing volume was highest among Whitehorse residents over the last three weeks.
The Yukon’s medical officer of health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, talked to the Star about the situation last Friday.
He’s not particularly concerned at this point about what he’s seeing, which is developing much as he expected.
Ranade said most of the hospitalizations are happening to people with other existing health conditions, even as many as three other conditions, and are prone to more easily being infected with these viruses.
“There are multiple lines of infection happening,” Ranade said. “It will likely increase in the next month.”
He said he would describe the current status as being “mid-level infections,” but stressed, “this is just the start.”
Most of the infections, he added, are being in found in the expected demographic.
He is a little more stressed and disappointed by a low turnout amongst Yukoners lining up to receive the latest COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
The rates are lower than normal so far, which doesn’t bode well.
Generally, there’s a bit of a rush when the vaccines are first offered as clinics open – but that hasn’t been the case this year.
After that initial rush, interest tails off, Ranade said.
“It’s a good reason for vaccinations, he added about the uptick in severity being seen.
“I think there’s some COVID-19 vaccine fatigue in particular, and it’s spilling over into the flu vaccines as well.”
Ranade said there are various strains of COVID-19 circulating in the Yukon, including the so-called XPD variants.
None of them so far are raising warning flags, he said.