After no new cases of the H1N1 influenza virus were confirmed for over a month during the summer, Ottawa’s public health department has reset the patient count.
In the last week, six new cases of H1N1, also known as swine flu, have been confirmed in Ottawa, bringing the total to 13 since the start of September.
The number of patients reporting symptoms of respiratory illness is increasing, said Thomas Hayes, director of Emergency Preparedness at the Ottawa Hospital Thursday.
Hayes said people are having difficulty differentiating between a cold and flu.
The complications with the flu are far more severe than a cold, said Hayes. They can include pneumonia, kidney failure, and heart failure.
Regular influenza vaccine clinics start in Ottawa this weekend for residents over 65 years old at Holy Trinity High School in Kanata.
Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s associate medical officer of health, said they are on track to provide H1N1 vaccinations by November.
The priority remains health-care workers, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and young children first, but within the month, the vaccine will be available for anyone who wants it, she said.