No flu in Weddin

THE coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the world, but one of the few silver linings in this tough time is the positive impact it has had on flu season.

Figures from the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) show a substantial decrease in the number of confirmed cases of influenza compared to the same time last year.

For the health district as a whole, just 67 cases have been recorded, compared to 704 over the same period in 2019.

Weddin had recorded 15 influenza cases to this time in 2019, but the numbers for this year are much lower, sitting at zero.

Cabonne, which covers Canowindra has had four cases this year compared with 31 last year.

Forbes has had no cases this year, Parkes two cases and Cowra Shire one compared with 35, 26 and 17 cases respectively last year.

A spokesperson for WNSWLHD said the numbers are likely linked to the changes in behaviour since the pandemic started.

"NSW Influenza levels are much lower than previous years likely due to social distancing measures, better hand hygiene and high levels of vaccination during the pandemic," they said.

"However, NSW Health still recommends vaccination against flu for people who have not been vaccinated."

People can get flu vaccines from pharmacies or their doctors, and are encouraged to book in advance.

"Free influenza vaccinations are available under the National Immunisation Program for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and those with at-risk medical conditions," the spokesperson said. "The free NSW-funded vaccine is also available to all children aged six months to under five years."

There has only been one recorded case of COVID-19 in the Weddin Shire however WNSWLHD is warning locals to not be complacent.

"WNSWLHD continues to urge anyone with even the mildest of symptoms to isolate from others and get tested at their GP or a COVID-19 clinic."