Delaware sees record 30 flu deaths this season

DOVER — The state has seen a record number of flu-related deaths this season, the Division of Public Health announced Monday. Thirty people have died from the flu, with two deaths in late February breaking the old mark of 28.

The state has also seen 7,071 lab-confirmed influenza cases, shattering the record of 4,554 set last season.

“We are terribly saddened to learn of even more deaths this flu season,” DPH Director Karyl Rattay said in a statement. “We’ve never seen a flu season this severe before and hope to never see one again. It’s important for everyone to remember that flu continues to circulate in Delaware, and to keep practicing vital prevention measures such as social distancing and frequent hand washing.”

The two individuals who died in the last weeks of February were women, ages 83 and 84 respectively, with multiple underlying health conditions.
The old record of 28 flu deaths was set in 2014-2015.

While overall numbers are at an all-time high, the number of weekly cases has dropped for the second week in a row. There were 381 lab-confirmed flu cases for the week ending March 3, the lowest number of confirmed flu cases in a week since the week ending Jan. 20, when there were 375 confirmed cases. Hospitals and walk-in health clinics are also reporting a drop in patients with influenza-like illnesses, according to DPH.

Anyone feeling sick should not go to work or school until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours with the aid of medication.

Individuals are urged to wash their hands frequently and sneeze or cough into their inner elbows if no tissues are available. Delawareans should seek medical attention at the first sign of illness. It is recommended they avoid going to the emergency room unless symptoms are extremely serious.

DPH will be offering free flu vaccines today at the Pyle State Service Center, located at 34314 Pyle Center Road in Frankford, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DPH also offers ongoing free flu shots at five State Service Centers. For more information about free flu clinics, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.

For more information about flu surveillance in Delaware, read the weekly flu report at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/epi/influenzawkly.html. For general information about the flu, visit http://flu.Delaware.gov.

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