In a social media post on Thursday evening, Alberta’s health minister said the province is reporting its first influenza-related deaths of the season.
Among those dead is a four-year-old child, Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping wrote in a tweet.
Copping said he would not be providing additional identifying details due to privacy, so the child’s gender and location is unknown.
“I would like to extend my condolences to their family and loved ones at this difficult time,” Copping wrote.
“This season, as we see influenza virus circulate through the province at higher levels, we can again expect to see an increase in severe outcomes.”
Today we are reporting our first influenza-related fatalities of the season, including the death of a four-year old child. In the interest of privacy, we will not be providing additional identifying details.
Alberta Health data shows that as of Nov. 12 there have been six flu deaths in the province.
The child’s death comes at a time when many Alberta students are home sick with respiratory illnesses, including the flu, COVID-19, and RSV, and as children’s hospitals in Alberta are under intense pressure as they deal with an influx of sick kids.
Doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton are battling a deluge of viral illnesses.
“I appreciate this news is distressing for parents and guardians, and many may be looking for guidance on how to protect their children from becoming ill,” Copping tweeted.
Copping said he advises all Albertans to get their flu slot — he also recommended people stay home when sick and wear a mask to reduce the risk of infection.
Alberta Health data states there are 34 people in the ICU with an influenza infection, and 355 people hospitalized, as of Nov. 12.
There have been 2,082 laboratory-confirmed cases this year.