Douglas County Health Department officials reported Monday, December 30, that the county "continues to experience extremely high levels of influenza activity, with 898 laboratory-confirmed cases reported last week".
Reports from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District for the week of December 8-14 and from Texas Department of Health and Human Services for the week of December 15-21, both show a rise in the percentage of visits to health care providers for influenza-like illnesses.
The CDC says at least 4.6 million flu illnesses have been reported across the USA this season with 39,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths from the flu.
"Typically, we see a slower start to flu season in the more rural areas as there is less population", department spokeswoman Brittany Lauffer said. There have been 22 pediatric deaths so far this season nationwide.
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North Carolina is under the "high" category, but all neighboring states are reporting higher cases.
Rochester Regional Health said it would begin restricting visitors to its Rochester General and Unity hospitals starting Tuesday morning to prevent the spread of the flu.
Even if the flu is on the rise, Hartzler said it's not too late to get the flu shot, which could help protect you and people around you who are most at risk, like small children and the elderly. Additionally, those who are ill or exhibiting cold or flu symptoms are asked not to visit hospitalized patients.