ST. PAUL, Minn. – Influenza continues to create a lot of illness but relatively few deaths in Minnesota.
The Department of Health’s Weekly Influenza & Respiratory Illness Activity Report says 366 people were hospitalized for the flu for the week ending February 22. That brings the total to 2,817 hospitalizations with at least another two months left in a normal flu season. If trends hold, Minnesota could have the second highest number of flu-related hospitalizations in the last six years.
The report also says there were another nine flu-related deaths for the week ending February 22. That brings the season’s total to 67 deaths, which is substantially fewer than previous flu seasons with high numbers of hospitalizations. For example, there were 3,695 for the entire flu season in 2016-2017 but 273 deaths compared to 2,817 hospitalizations and 67 deaths so far this season. The death rate for 2019-2020 would have to nearly triple to match how many died in 2016-2017.
State statistics also say the median age of those dying of the flu is 74 years old, which would be the 2nd youngest for the last six seasons.