Health authorities warn not to become complacent about COVID-19 and flu ahead of winter | The Courier

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Ballarat residents have warned to not be complacent concerning the twin threats of recent COVID-19 variants and influenza as winter approaches. Health authorities worry the mixture of flu and COVID-19 will create a troublesome winter and improve strain on hospitals, well being system and wider neighborhood. The state’s COVID-19 figures have been climbing this week with the Omicron variant BA2 changing into dominant over the unique Omicron pressure and with worldwide borders reopening, influenza will make its approach in to the nation. “Winter will be challenging, it always is whether you’ve got a pandemic or not, flu for instance, always knocks our health system around every single winter,” stated Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday. Grampians Public Health Unit scientific director Professor Rosemary Aldrich warned Omicron BA2 was extra infectious than Omicron BA1. “Omicron BA2 is 1.4 times more infectious than Omicron BA1 so while mask-wearing rules have changed we should still be wearing them to protect ourselves, particularly in confined spaces or when we cannot physically distance from others,” she stated. “We are expecting that influenza will come to us in higher numbers this year, particularly now that we are welcoming international travellers into the country. In addition to this, people may be more susceptible to the flu unless they get vaccinated in a timely manner because we haven’t seen as much flu in the past two years.” UFS chief govt Lynne McLennan stated persevering with the well being and social distancing measures realized all through the pandemic would assist scale back the danger, however vaccination was the important thing. “The absolute best way to reduce the risk of infection and help protect our over-worked health system is to make sure you are vaccinated against both COVID and influenza,” Ms McLennan stated. “Due to Australia’s borders now being open, the Department of Health is expecting there will be high levels of influenza virus circulating this winter. Therefore it’s more important than ever to be protected prior to the flu season this year.” Flu infections usually peak in August however with little to no flu circulating locally over the previous two years due to lockdowns and strict well being precautions, authorities can’t predict when flu infections would possibly peak this yr. Ms McLennan stated flu vaccinations have been really useful from mid-April onwards to make sure safety earlier than the height of the flu season, and she or he referred to as on those that haven’t but had their COVID-19 booster vaccination to get jabbed. “If you haven’t had your booster yet, we recommend doing this as soon as possible,” she stated. Pharmacists are additionally recommending sporting of KN95 masks to present increased ranges of safety towards each viruses, and urged anybody with signs to get examined and isolate. “The fact that the new COVID variants are circulating at alarming numbers, with increases in positive cases in Victoria, means there is no room for complacency,” Ms McLennan stated. IN OTHER NEWS “Please be COVID-safe as you move around the community. Masks are optional in many settings, however consider whether you want to wear one anyway if appropriate social distancing is not possible.” Professor Aldrich stated these at increased threat of flu embrace kids aged six months to 5 years, who’re additionally not vaccinated towards COVID-19, people who find themselves immune compromised and folks aged over 65. Federal well being minister Greg Hunt final week introduced an extra $2.1 billion in “winter preparedness” funding for states and territories to plan for COVID and flu. The money injection will assist vaccines, weak populations and further assist for aged care. Our group of native journalists work exhausting to offer native, up-to-date information to the Ballarat neighborhood. This is how one can proceed to entry our trusted content material:


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