According to the latest data from Manitoba Health, 17 people have died from outcomes associated with influenza since the start of the 2017-2018 season, almost double the number of deaths from the previous week.

Between Dec., 31 and Jan., 6 Manitoba Health reports 17 deaths associated with the flu since Sept., 1, 2017. Between Dec., 24 and Dec., 30 nine people had died since the same time period.

The latest Influenza Surveillance Report which was released Friday said flu activity continues to increase across Canada. In Manitoba, the report said the flu activity level is high, but the increase of activity slowed in the first week of 2018.

“The Emergency Departments this week continued to have a higher number of patients with respiratory symptoms. In total, there have been 113 influenza associated hospital admissions since the beginning of this season and over 65% of those patients are aged 65 years and above,” said the report. “The majority of influenza detections continue to be H3N2.”

Seventeen flu-related deaths is drastically higher compared to last year at this time when Manitoba health reported one death. The deaths this season are also higher compared to the 2014-2015 season, where there were 16 deaths up until this point in the flu season. During the 2015-2016 season, Manitoba Health reported no deaths up until this point in the season.

On Monday, The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced dozens of elective surgeries would be cancelled to accommodate influenza patients. At the time, it estimated about 80 surgeries would be affected, and said the cancellations would not affect emergency or cancer surgeries.

“We continue to monitor the situation regarding elective surgical cancellations and assess the need on a day to day basis. We don’t offer elective surgeries over the weekend so we will have a better sense of the situation for next week starting Monday,” said a statement sent to CTV News on Saturday.

As of January 12, 2018 Manitoba Health reports 20.2 per cent of Manitoban residents have been immunized with flu vaccine.