The flu continues to be pervasive throughout the Hudson Valley, as reported influenza cases continue to rise throughout the nation, including two recent deaths in New York.
In the past week, there were more than 16,000 confirmed influenza cases and nearly 2,500 New Yorkers were hospitalized statewide with the flu, among the highest weekly numbers since health officials began reporting those statistics in 2004. The total number of flu cases in New York has now reached 69,000.
The flu epidemic has been so widespread that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines to children and teenagers older than 2 years old.
“With flu cases reaching epidemic proportions in New York, we must do everything in our power to fight this virus and keep New Yorkers safe,” Cuomo said. “Once again, I urge all New Yorkers to help us combat this quick-spreading strain of flu and make sure they and their loved ones are vaccinated.”
Cuomo’s proclamation came days after two children from New York City died, including an 8-year-old girl in Queens who suffered from an influenza-related illness. The flu season runs through May. To find a vaccine, one can call 311, click here or text “flu” to 877877.
Influenza activity has been rampant throughout the country, with nearly 150,000 confirmed cases during the season, according to the Center for Disease Control. Several pediatric deaths have also been reported.
In order to battle the “flu epidemic,” Sen. Charles Schumer announced last week that he is calling on experts to help locals track which flu strains are hitting, which treatment are most effective and how to make a plan to fight influenza in all New Yorkers.
According to the CDC , the flu results in 31.4 million outpatient visits and 200,000 hospitalizations across the country annually. While flu seasons are unpredictable and can vary in severity each year, there are between 3,000 and 49,000 influenza deaths nationwide. This causes an estimated annual $87 billion total economic burden to U.S. businesses.
Over the past four years, 27 patients have died from the flu in New York State alone. Eight of those deaths occurred during last year’s flu season. As of January 27th, the weekly rate of New Yorkers hospitalized with influenza was the highest it had ever been since the Department of Health began reporting.
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