278 Hospitalizations, No Deaths, In Early Flu Season Peak
Columbus Public Health says over the last two weeks, hospitalizations from the flu have risen to the highest level recorded this season. In that time, 31 central Ohioans have been hospitalized. The agency is encouraging people to get vaccinated. It says the numbers follow a national trend. And the Ohio Department of Health reports hospitalization for the flu are increasing statewide. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
The state says there were 287 new confirmed flu associated hospitalizations all across Ohio during the first week of January – which makes it widespread, as it is in most states at this point. There were 157 hospitalizations the last week of December, mostly in eastern Ohio. And the department says there are many cases of flu that are not reported because they don’t require hospitalization. There haven’t been any flu-related deaths so far this year. There are antiviral medications that can reduce the severity of the flu but those work best when started within two days of getting sick. But the health department says the best line of defense is still getting an annual flu shot. The flu is peaking a bit earlier in Ohio this year than last, when it didn’t hit its high point till March.