Mesa County Health Department sees highest flu activity in 5 years

Posted March 03, 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its map of flu activity.

Deaths from flu-related conditions are at high levels, and the CDC reported that hospitalizations for children under 4 and adults over 65 are up. There have been about 200 patients since January that have tested positive for influenza. State health officials say flu season has already killed dozens around the state and they are encouraging people to hurry and get a flu shot if they haven't already. Flu activity is especially severe now in the South, some Midwestern areas and in the East, particularly Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and CT.

"Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu", said Kari Russell, registered nurse and infection preventionist at Essentia Health-St. Thirty-four people have died of pneumonia and the flu this season.

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Kathy Wakefield, director of nursing for the Ross County Health District, stresses that parents need to be smart about keeping children showing signs of flu-like illness home from school rather than run the risk of spreading it to other kids.

Most of the deaths have occurred among people 65 or older, a reflection that the most common strain of the virus this season - Influenza A H3N2 - tends to affect older people more severely. The flu vaccine can be administered to anyone 6 months of age or older. It's still unknown if she had received her flu vaccine this year.

The health department says flu vaccine supply is good this year. The recent CDC report noted that the flu hospitalization rate for USA senior citizens is 155.2 per 100,000, higher than for any other age group. RVNA continues to provide flu shots at 27 Governor Street during normal business hours. RVNA also provides home health aides and companionship through a non-medical subsidiary called HomeCare by RVNA and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy in its Rehab by RVNA facility at 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield.