Nominees sought for public health awards

St. Louis County Public Health is seeking nominees for what will be its fourth annual Public Health Achievement Awards.

In a news release, the agency said winners will be selected on the basis of leadership, public health contributions, community health improvement outcomes, collaboration and advocacy. Nominations can go to individuals or groups.

Past winners have included The Rutabaga Project, Heather Hemphill Keely, Verne Wagner, the Diabetes Prevention Program partners, Ruby's Pantry and Eversmiles Pediatric Dentistry.

Nominations are due by March 6. The awards will be presented during the St. Louis County Board meeting on April 2, which coincides with National Public Health Week.

More information, including a nomination form and instructions, are available online at www.stlouiscountymn.gov/phaward or by calling (218) 725-5210.

Flu scoreboard

Incidences of influenza continue to increase in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

But it remains one of the mildest flu seasons in recent years so far.

During the week ending Feb. 2, 95 people were hospitalized with influenza in the state, the health department reported. That brought the total number for 495 for the season. The health department considers the spread of flu in the state to be widespread.

At this time last year, hundreds of people were being hospitalized weekly for the disease, although the numbers finally were starting to descend. A total of 6,446 people were hospitalized with flu in Minnesota during the 2017-18 season.

In Northeastern Minnesota, six people were hospitalized during the week that ended Feb. 2, bringing the total to 28.

Statewide, 14 people have died of influenza this season, a pace that's much lower than recent levels. To date, there have been no pediatric deaths.