Flu continues to inch back up in state

Although influenza activity is well below January levels, the State Department of Public Health says the contagious respiratory illness is continuing to inch back up after declining for weeks in February.

According to stats for the week ending March 9, emergency department visits attributed to the “fever/flu syndrome” rose slightly for a second week in a row. In the most recent report, 5.9 percent of emergency room visits were flu related, compared with 5.5 percent the previous week. The percent of outpatient visits by those with flu-like illness also went up to 2.2 percent, from 2 percent the previous week.

However, another key indicator — the number of hospital admissions due to pneumonia syndrome — is down. The most recent report show 300 people admitted to the hospital with pneumonia last week, down from 375 the previous week.

A total of 6,389 positive influenza reports have been reported for the current season, more than six time the number of cases last season. A total of 32 influenza-associated deaths were reported to the DPH. Of these, 28 were aged 65 years or older, and 4 were 55-64 years of age.

Amanda Cuda