The Sunshine Coast has reported its lowest monthly flu cases in years.
The Sunshine Coast has reported its lowest monthly flu cases in years.

New data shows huge drop in flu cases across Coast

SUNSHINE Coast's monthly flu cases may have dropped to single digits in April for the first time in at least five years.

Queensland Health data shows Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service's lab-confirmed influenza cases have been in freefall under new physical distancing rules.

The health service - which includes Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie - reported just nine cases in April.

The data, which shows monthly cases from January 2015 to April 2020, reveals the last time the Coast came close to less than 10 cases in one month was December 2015, when there were 15.

SCHHS public health unit director Dr Rosie Muller said the data confirmed the introduction and strengthening of physical distancing reduced the number of influenza cases across the Coast in recent weeks.

Between January and March 31, before distancing rules were strengthened, the Coast had 359 flu cases, with a peak in February of 136.

While Queensland Health noted that there may have been more testing required for specimens collected in April at the time of publishing, it is still a dramatic decline compared to April 2019's 145 cases.

Dr Muller said it was particularly important this year for residents to receive the influenza vaccination.

"We are always concerned about the coming influenza season," she said.

"Making predictions about flu seasons is challenging. 

"This year, we are particularly concerned about how people will fare if they have influenza and Covid at the same or similar time and making sure our health system is ready to respond."

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said social distancing meant flu numbers had been low so far but people should plan to get vaccinated ahead of the peak season from June to September.

Ms Young, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health Steven Miles had their flu shot earlier this week.

"Sadly, we know the flu can be deadly, and with the ongoing threat Covid-19 has on our communities, it is so important we do everything possible to reduce the risk of contracting both illnesses at the same time," Ms Palaszczuk said.