Flu cases ease up in MinnesotaInfluenza numbers dropped sharply across Minnesota last week, the state Department of Health reported.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Influenza numbers dropped sharply across Minnesota last week, the state Department of Health reported.
But for the first time this flu season, a handful of St. Louis County schools reported outbreaks of the illness.
In the report released on Thursday, the health department reported 15 people died from flu-related illnesses in Minnesota in the week that ended Saturday. That was down from 33 deaths reported the week before. Also, 208 people were hospitalized during the week with laboratory-confirmed influenza, down from 476 the week before.
Total numbers for the flu season so far are 75 deaths and 2,128 hospitalized. It has been the state’s worst flu season in at least five years in terms of those hospitalized with the virus.
In Wisconsin, 463 more hospitalizations were reported in the week that ended Jan. 12, bringing the total to 1,823. The state doesn’t list the number of deaths except for pediatric deaths, said Thomas Haupt, influenza surveillance coordinator for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. One child has died of flu in Wisconsin so far this season, Haupt said. Updated numbers will be released today, he said.
The state reported an increase in the number of school outbreaks, to 112 last week from 92 the week before. In addition to the five in St. Louis County, there were outbreaks in one Carlton County school and one in Itasca County. Outbreaks refer to a single school, not to an entire school system. And it doesn’t mean the school had to close. The state considers it an outbreak when the number of students absent with influenza-like illnesses reaches 5 percent of the enrollment or when three or more students are absent from the same classroom with influenza-like illness.
The number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was way down, from 46 to nine. That’s significant, because the “vast majority” of hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among the elderly, a health department news release said. One St. Louis County facility reported an outbreak.