Flu-related emergency department visits continued declining last week, but current activity remains above average, according to the latest flu statistics released Jan. 29 by the Pa. Department of Health.
This season's flu outbreak in Pennsylvania is still described as "widespread."
Eight flu-related deaths -- four in Lehigh and four in Northampton counties -- have been documented in the Lehigh Valley. That number is up from two deaths last week.
Westfield Hospital in South Whitehall Township will hold a free flu shot clinic from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Statewide, 27 influenza-related deaths were reported last week, including one death of a child. Altogether, 102 flu-related deaths have been reported season-to-date. A majority (87 percent) of reported deaths are among the elderly (persons over age 65).
Laboratory-confirmed flu cases in the Lehigh Valley total 3,273 as reported through Jan. 26. These break down as follows:
- Lehigh County: 2,093 (up from 1,651 last week)
- Northampton County: 1,180 (up from 1,028 last week)
Lab-confirmed flu cases represent only a fraction of those with the flu, state health officials say, since most people with the flu -- including those who seek health care -- are diagnosed without lab testing.
Most of the reported deaths were among those 65 and older. No pediatric flu-related deaths have been reported to the state.
Since flu activity could continue into spring, it is not too late to get a flu shot. To find a place near you to get a flu shot, type your zip code into the Flu Finder site.
A total of 27,727 lab positive cases have been reported season-to-date. A total of 3,683 flu cases were reported last week, down from 6,068 cases reported during the previous week.
Influenza cases have been reported in all age groups and counties of the state.
Other statewide flu statistics:
- 486 flu-related hospitalizations were reported last week. 2,564 hospitalizations have been reported season-to-date.
- The median age of hospitalizations is 71 (range 0 to 98).
- While the overall number of hospitalizations has plateaued, the proportion of hospitalizations among the elderly is on the increase. The elderly currently account for 22 percent of all reported cases but nearly 70 percent of all reported hospitalizations.
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