Niagara’s top doc says COVID-19 restrictions saw flu disappear but expects it back now in a big way


Published November 1, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Niagara Region Health acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji is warning that with pandemic restrictions being lifted, Niagara can expect more cases of COVID-19 and the flu in the upcoming months.

With everyone masked up, isolating at home and keeping physical distancing from others this time last year, Niagara Region Health acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji said last year’s influenza numbers were exceptionally low.

With COVID-19 restrictions completely lifted, that won’t be the case this year, he told local radio station 101.1 More FM.

In fact, he said, without the previous restrictions, Niagara can expect far more cases of COVID-19, the flu and other respiratory illnesses this year.

“Obviously, we’re in a different point in the pandemic now. We’re back to our usual activities and we’re not doing the things to prevent these infections from spreading,” Hirji told the station.

As a health care professional, he is emphasizing the traditional precautions: get a COVID-19 booster as soon as you qualify; get a flu shot (which are now available across Ontario) and by all means, save time by getting them both at the same time.

That said, for those who mistakenly believe COVID-19 is a thing of the past as we close in on 2023, the numbers tell a different story.

In the past two weeks, the chart below shows Niagara saw four days where the new daily cases exceeded 80 and, in fact, only five days when there were less than 50 new daily cases.

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