VICTORIA is still in the grips of a shocking influenza season but the savage swathe it has been cutting through the state seems to be easing.
Cases of influenza in the Grampians are 11 times higher than last year, but the number of laboratory-confirmed cases each week for the past three weeks have dropped dramatically from the levels previously seen.
The Grampians region stretches from Ballarat to the South Australian border.
Across the state there were fewer than half the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases compared to the week prior. And in the Grampians there were 22 confirmed cases compared to 55 just two weeks ago.
There have been 79 deaths across Victoria from influenza so far this year, with 44,217 laboratory confirmed cases of the illness.
In the Grampians health region there have been 1174 cases for the year to date compared to 100 in 2018.
The drop in flu infections is good news for hospital emergency departments which have been under pressure causing increased wait times for patients and ambulance cases.
Speaking to the Mail-Times last month, Horsham's Lister House Medical Clinic nurse immuniser and practice nurse Sharon Hedt said the clinic had experienced an increase of influenza type A and type B cases this year.
"There has been a huge jump in cases from a year ago. We've also seen more people in the community wanting vaccines, including parents for children," she said.
"A number of people have come into the clinic after feeling unwell and have tested positive for flu. I know that a number of people in the Wimmera have also been hospitalised.
"This year is projected to be the second highest year for flu cases in recorded history after 2017, and it's still trending up. The flu seaosn may run longer than usual."
The past fortnight has seen the biggest drop in laboratory-confirmed flu cases across the state since the illness began to make its presence felt in April.
Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services' FluCAN tracking showed 4.7 per cent of adults and 6.7 per cent of children admitted to hospital with confirmed influenza ended up being admitted to the intensive care unit.
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