SCONEITES are called to help track the flu and covid-19 this year as part of this year’s flutracking program.
For you and your family to help track the flu in our community click here: Flutracker.
Data is broken down into postcodes, but more participants in each postcode are needed to make the data meaningful explained Sandra Carlson, senior analyst with Flutracking.
“If we only have two people in a postcode and one has a fever or cough, statistically that means there has been a 50 percent increase in those symptoms in that postcode which is not really representative of the whole community,” said Ms Carlson.
“But the more participants there are in each postcode the more meaningful the data can be to paint a good picture,” she said.
“We need more people from regional areas, from Aboriginal communities and children especially aged 0 to 4, because it means the data is more representative of what is happening across communities” said Sandra Carlson.
The researchers stressed the importance of having well people become part of the study, not just when people have the flu, to track if and when people develop symptoms through the season.
Usually the research begins at the end of April, but flutracking begun in March this year to help track covid-19 and contribute to situational awareness of the virus.
“To try and monitor the community transmission of covid-19, we thought if we started early we might have a baseline before it started to pick up,” said Ms Carlson.
“The report at 9am this morning shows this week we have 0.6 percent of people with fever and coughs, on the 8th of March it was at it’s highest of 1.6 percent and it’s been declining from that point,” she said.
“It was a nice surprise when we saw the decrease.
“This should give community members encouragement to know that social distancing measures are working for a range of viruses that cause fever and cough,” said Sandra Carlson.
The data has shown a decrease across all age groups.
“The most noticeable difference is in children,” she said.
“We know that attendance at schools and childcare is down to below 10 percent so those measures may be a big contributor,” Sandra Carlson said.
Dr Richard Abbott encourages local people to participate in the tracking and said they have noticed fewer local people with the flu symptoms to date.
“It shows the social distancing measures for covid-19 are working in slowing the range of flu symptoms in the community,” said Dr Abbott.
“That all helps the community to be healthier, protects vulnerable patients and puts us in a better position to manage covid-19 without the additional pressures of other flu,” he said.
“It would be ideal to have statistics on our local area, but for that to work we need many people in the community to be part of the research, I’d definitely encourage people to do it,” said Dr Richard Abbott.
Click here for you and your family to participate in Flutracking.