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Filipino Canadians urged to take precautions amid influenza epidemic

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Nov 22 2022 08:36 PM

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Public Health Canada said that the test positivity rate for flu has almost doubled in just a week.

It jumped from 10.9% last November 5 to 15.8% on November 12 on the third week of a flu epidemic that has affected mostly children and teenagers.

Canada faces other health threats aside from the flu, including increasing cases of Covid-19, RSV, and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Yet most provinces, including British Columbia, have shied away from reinstating the mask mandate.

"Right now, I don’t see the need for a mask mandate by itself because we have many other tools and we have a high level of protection from a variety of these respiratory illnesses that are circulating right now," BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

Without the restrictions, Filipino Canadian doctor Iris Radev stressed it is important for Filipino Canadians to be aware of the increase in respiratory diseases so they can better protect themselves.

"This is happening only because we are being exposed to so many new variants of things mapa-flu man yan, or viruses or Covid and we don't have immunity yet, right? The vaccine is not 100% perfect," he pointed out.

(This is happening because we are being exposed to so many new variants of things, whether it’s flu or viruses or COVID.)

"So of course, when the time comes that people are more exposed to it plus matapos pa yung season, then things will settle down again. But until then, if you are in a vulnerable household, either yourself or people in your household, then it's good to be prudent. It's good to be vigilant. It's good to take precautions."

(When the time comes that people are more exposed to it and the season has ended, then things will settle down again.)

Radev added that wearing masks is recommended to help protect those who are more vulnerable to infections. But in the end, she said the decision to mask is still up to the individual.

"It's a very personal choice. If you know your own circumstance and alam mo na medyo vulnerable ka. You know that, let's say you can't afford to be sick or you are taking care of older people, younger kids."

(If you know your own circumstance and you know that you are vulnerable.)

Canada's top doctor Theresa Tam warned that the triple threat will continue to circulate in the coming weeks. She also stressed the need to get the flu shot or Covid boosters to ensure protection as immunity wanes over time.