The region of Windsor-Essex County (WECHU) reported its first flu-related death of Ontario's 2020 flu season on Wednesday, January 8. News of the death comes after weeks of rising emergency room visits in the region due to the virus. Ontario has recently revealed that they are buckling down for a "very difficult" flu season. 

The WECHU is reminding people who may “feel healthy” that the flu shot benefits more than our own immune systems.

“If people get the flu shot every year, the likelihood of getting the flu is reduced, and that means people are less likely to spread the disease to family, friends, and into the community. It is highly recommended that people protect themselves and the ones they love by getting vaccinated,” a statement from the WECHU press release reads.

CBC reported that the person who passed away from influenza was a senior over the age of 65 years old. Officials also confirmed that one person died during last year’s flu season as well.

Ontario’s Health Minister issued a warning back in 2019 that the province would face a “very difficult” season this year.

Health Sciences North, an academic health science centre in Greater Sudbury, began taking measures to help reduce an expected increase in patient volumes with the illness back in December.

The centre opened 12 additional beds in its Medical Inpatient Overflow unit in an attempt to prevent people from being cared for in hallways.

The health unit is urging people to exercise caution by getting the shot.

“As always, it’s important to be protected from the risks associated with the flu season in Ontario,” said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the WECHU’s medical officer of health.

“Lower your risk and the risk of those around you by getting the flu vaccine and talking to your health care provider if you become sick. The best time to get vaccinated is now.”

So far, the WECHU has distributed 149,660 doses throughout the community and will continue to work with providers to make sure residents continue to have access to the vaccine.

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