Officials Say It's Peak Flu Season In North Country

Officials Say It's Peak Flu Season In North Country

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There were close to 300 reported flu cases in Jefferson County in the past 2 weeks.

"I would say it's peak flu season, yeah, I'm not sure if we're at the top of the peak yet but I would say, yes," said Faith Lustik, county health planner.

Jefferson County has had 444 reported cases of the flu so far this season - much more than the 95 cases from last year at this time. But Lustik points out peak seasons can differ from year to year and the county is still at less than the total cases for last year's entire season, which was 593.

"We might just be on par with that. We don't know what the future holds here in the next week or two," she said.

Oswego county has had more than 500 cases this year. As of Monday in St. Lawrence County, there have been 285 cases for the season and in Lewis County there have been 175 cases since January 1.

North country hospitals have also been dealing with the flu.

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg has had 3 people admitted for the flu this month. Lewis County General has also had 3 and Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown currently has 5.

But the director of infection prevention at SMC, Karen Abare, says it's nothing out of the ordinary.

"It is a little bit earlier than what we've seen in the past but we're still seeing our normal every year flu," she said.

Abare says other regions in the state are dealing with a bigger influx of the flu than the north country is. But she says it's never too late to prevent the virus from spreading.

"If you haven't gotten your vaccine now, it's the time to do so. Also, just staying home when you're sick," she said.

Both Lustik and Abare also want to remind people of the seriousness of the flu.  While there have been no reported flu deaths in the north country, two Oswego County residents have died from flu complications.

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