Following an increase in flu cases across the region, the North Coast Public Health Unit is encouraging people to get their influenza vaccine to avoid serious illness from the virus this winter.
Across the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD), influenza is circulating widely in the community for the first time in two years, after significantly lower cases during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been 318 influenza cases recorded to June 4 this year in the MNCLHD, with 109 of those reported in the last week - a doubling of cases from two weeks earlier.
"This is considerably higher compared with the recent years prior to the pandemic, when on average 118 influenza cases were recorded from January 1 to June 4 between 2015 and 2019," Director North Coast Public Health Unit Dr Paul Douglas said.
The health unit is encouraging people to get vaccinated now.
"This is particularly important for those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and children aged six months to five years," he said.
"Now is the time to book in for a flu jab and COVID-19 winter booster if you are eligible, as both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time."
As a result of the high number of flu cases, the NSW Government is funding free flu vaccinations at GPs and pharmacies until June 30.
As many people who get the flu do not get tested for it, the MNCLHD said there are likely to be many more people with influenza in the community currently.
Other protective measures that individuals can take include staying at home if unwell and getting a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms.
In the 24 hours to 4pm on June 7 there have been 7825 positive COVID-19 cases across NSW.
Over the past four weeks there have been 5012 positive COVID-19 cases in the MNCLHD.
In the 24 hours to 4pm on June 7 there have been 160 positive cases of Covid in the MNCLHD.
Residents are being reminded to regularly wash their hands and wear a mask if they aren't able to physically distance themselves from other people when indoors, this can help prevent both flu and COVID-19.
Find out more about how to protect yourself from the flu at Influenza (flu) | NSW Government.
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