ST. PAUL, Minn. – One of the worst flu seasons in years may be winding down.
The latest Weekly Influenza and Respiratory Illness Activity Report from the Minnesota Department of Health says the flu remains widespread across the state but the number of reported hospitalizations is on a steep decline. 261 people went to the hospital for the flu for the week ending February 17. That’s down from 337 the week before and over 650 hospitalizations the week before that.
Minnesota has now had the most reported hospitalizations in in the last six years. At 4,699, that’s more hospital visits for the flu than in the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 flu seasons combined. Health officials say there are still 13 more weeks before the end of this flu season.
63 more schools have reported outbreaks of flu-like illnesses, for a total of 588 such reports so far this season. Things are on pace of this to possibly be the worst season for school flu outbreaks in five years.
There were also another 10 flu outbreaks at long-term care facilities for the week ending February 17. That brings Minnesota to 160 for the season so far.
Iowa’s weekly flu surveillance report will be issued on Friday.