What is Seasonal Respiratory Surveillance?

The 2023/24 respiratory season is upon us, which means it is the perfect time to launch the Seasonal Respiratory Surveillance Bulletin. This bulletin is an interactive report highlighting local and provincial trends in COVID-19 and influenza activity.

Surveillance programs provide health systems and communities with improved situational awareness and information that helps us prepare and respond to increasing levels of respiratory illness. Each year, respiratory and influenza-like illness put an enormous strain on the overall capacity of the healthcare system, as well as social and economic impacts resulting from lost time from work and school. Effective surveillance programs can support decision-making that helps mitigate these adverse health and social consequences.

The aim of Chatham-Kent’s Seasonal Respiratory Surveillance bulletin is to highlight trends and summarize current information about local respiratory activity as we navigate the 2023/24 respiratory season. This report includes information on respiratory and enteric outbreaks in Chatham-Kent institutions as well as weekly influenza and COVID-19 data (confirmed case counts and rates, percent positivity, and average number of hospitalized and ICU patients). With this information, community members, health care providers and public health officials can make informed decisions on how to best mitigate any respiratory illness surges within our community. This report will be updated each Friday afternoon with a summary of the previous week’s activity and a current update on institutional outbreaks in Chatham-Kent long term care, retirement home and hospital facilities.

This is also an important time to remind everyone of the individual measures they can take to contribute to a healthy population during this season – staying home when sick, getting vaccinated, masking up when appropriate to protect yourself and others, and frequent hand-washing – are all layers of protection we have.

So there you have it. A quick breakdown of what’s behind all those fancy graphs and big numbers and why it’s so important for our community. If you would like to view the weekly bulletin, please visit www.ckphu.com/covid-19/respiratory-surveillance