Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Distance makes the flu grow weaker

Flu numbers in Central Queensland are higher than this time last year, but there has been a dramatic drop in cases after social isolation measures tightened.

There have been 222 lab-confirmed cases in CQ in the year to date, compared with 203 in 2019.

Early numbers suggested this year's flu season would be challenging as case numbers trended up in February and March.

Numbers spiked in March with 114 confirmed cases compared with 42 in 2019.

There were 67 confirmed cases in February compared to 40 in 2019.

However numbers plummeted after strict physical distancing measures came into effect.

No cases were confirmed in April compared to 81 in 2019.

Coronavirus closures for venues including pubs, clubs, gyms and cinemas were enforced in the state from March 23.

Central Queensland Public Health Unit director, Dr Gulam Khandaker, said the best way to protect against the flu is by vaccine, which was becoming available throughout the state.

"It is important our most vulnerable members of the community are vaccinated first - that is, people over 65 years, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults, and people with certain chronic medical conditions. These people get their vaccine for free," he said.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said social distancing meant flu numbers had been low so far but people should plan to get vaccinated ahead of the peak season from June to September.

Ms Young, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health Steven Miles had their flu shot earlier this week.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was vital Queenslanders get their flu shot this year to avoid the chance of getting COVID-19 and flu at the same time.

"Sadly, we know the flu can be deadly, and with the ongoing threat COVID-19 has on our communities, it is so important we do everything possible to reduce the risk of contracting both illnesses at the same time," she said.



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