Flu Season Hits North Country Hard With Nearly 1,200 Cases


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports that the number of deadly cases of the flu is slightly above epidemic levels.

The CDC on Friday said flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before.

So far, 20 children have died from the flu.

There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.

In New York, at least 10 elderly people and two children have died from the flu and hospitalizations are climbing as the illness hits every county in the state.

The flu season hit early and hit hard in Jefferson County.

The season, which typically begins in February, started in mid-October.

As of Friday, public health officials said there have been 685 confirmed flu cases this season, up from 57 during the last season.

If you count physician-reported cases, the number of people diagnosed as having the flu jumps to 786, officials said.

Jefferson County officials said most people don't get formally tested, so the true number of flu cases is actually even higher.

The story is much the same in Lewis County, where public health officials say there have been 272 confirmed cases so far this season, which started in August.

There were only 21 confirmed flu cases last season.

Officials said last year's season was unusually mild; there are between 200 and 225 flu cases during an average year.

St. Lawrence County has already had more than 220 confirmed cases so far, one of the highest numbers in years.

Jenna Bouchey is one of a growing number of people falling victim to the widespread flu outbreak.

"I was coughing and had a really bad headache," she said.
That's why the 14 year old came to Massena Hospital's new walk-in clinic.

She's is among the waves of patients seeking treatment for upper respiratory and flu-like symptoms in recent days.

Nurse Practitioner Alicia Sienkiewycz says the clinic is seeing close to two dozen patients daily - many suffering from virus like symptoms.

"Body aches, some people have a fever, a dry cough, a sore throat," she said.
The walk in clinic, open 7 days a week, has seen more than 600 patients in the month it has been open.

The problems range from minor injuries to the flu.
Health officials say they aren't sure whether the flu rate is peaking or if the outbreak will continue to climb.

But they say, it's still not to late to get a flu shot if you haven't already.
Statewide, the number of patients admitted to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed influenza has increased 55 percent.         

Sunday, October 23, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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