SUDBURY -- A public health nurse in Sudbury says its “remarkable” that the region hasn’t had any flu cases reported.

Last year there were 44 cases of influenza in the region.

“People keep asking if the COVID precautions have played a role,” said public health nurse Spence Newell.

“We do know that influenza is a respiratory infection, it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets. So the measures that are in place to slow the spread of COVID are likely very important to prevent the spread of other respiratory illnesses too.”

Although the COVID-19 vaccine is top of everyone’s mind, Newell said people responded ‘very well’ to getting the flu shot this year.

45,000 influenza vaccines have been administered whereas last year just over 40,000 shots were administered.

“We definitely had a greater up take this year, which is good news,” added Newell.

Flu season typically runs between October and April, and people who haven’t got their flu shot yet are still encouraged to do so right until the end of April.

“Some flu shots will be kept at clinics for even after April,” said Newell.

“The flu can hit people really hard and it some cases it can be deadly, so the fact that we have had no reported cases is a success.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people are physical distancing, washing their hands more often, and staying home more then before.

Newell said all of those factors have also lead to the flu not entering Sudbury.

“It’s definitely had an impact, but we do know vaccination is the best protection against influenza,” he said.

“We also know that these additional COVID measures that people have been following definitely play a role in reducing the flu too.”