EDMONTON -- Alberta has the flu.
There are now more than 965 confirmed flu cases in the province and there have been five deaths, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) medical director of population and health says.
Dr. Gerry Predy said Thursday that 920 of those are of the H1N1 strain and adds that the number of flu cases has doubled over the past week.
Three of the flu-related deaths were in Edmonton, the other two in Calgary, which AHS says has actually been hit harder by the illness than Edmonton.
Immunization clinics in Edmonton will reopen on Friday but as of Jan 1, AHS is reporting 371 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in the city compared to 594 cases in Calgary.
"Calgary was hit earlier and harder than Edmonton, although I can tell you Edmonton is catching up quite quickly," Predy said, adding the spread from southern Alberta is not uncommon.
"Usually when we see seasonal influenza, it starts in one part of the province and spreads to other parts. Particularly in the (holiday) season, with people driving back and forth, it's not going to take very long."
H1N1 is the dominant strain of influenza this season, emerging in a majority of cases and hospitalizations, Predy said.
The outbreak caused officials to postpone four elective heart surgeries at the University hospital, Predy said, as well as close a unit at the Stollery Children's Hospital where there were three cases of influenza.