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Flu Season Enters Peak, Still Time to Get Vaccinated

January 10, 2020

As flu season intensifies across the commonwealth, state officials encouraged all Pennsylvanians to get their flu shot. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine this week announced that as of December 28, 2019, more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the flu and nine flu-related deaths.

Dr. Levine underscored that the best way to prevent against the flu is to be vaccinated, and even if you get the flu, the vaccine can help shorten the duration and severity of the illness.

HAP’s emergency preparedness team continues to monitor the spread of flu in the commonwealth’s hospitals. To date, the highest concentrations of the flu are across the southern tier of Pennsylvania—including the southwestern, south central, and southeastern regions. Additionally, hospitals also are reporting increases in respiratory illnesses.

HAP emergency preparedness staff keep in regular contact with facilities to monitor the spread and concentration of illnesses including the flu. They conduct weekly check-ins across the state to assess hospital flu statuses, and report to state or federal agencies any staff or supply shortages, or spikes in patient volumes. If any changes to the spread of the flu arise, the emergency preparedness teams stand ready to assist the hospital community.

If you think you have flu symptoms—which include headache, fever, sore throat, body aches, tiredness, a dry cough, and nasal congestion—contact your primary care physician. Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a medical emergency. If you have not yet received your flu shot, it is not too late. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website has resources to help you locate a flu shot clinic in your area.

For more information about HAP’s efforts to support hospital emergency preparedness and management, contact Mark Ross, HAP’s vice president, emergency preparedness.