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The Latest on Flu Season

Will an early arrival mean an early peak?

December 19, 2022

Seasonal flu activity remains higher than usual for Pennsylvania and the nation, but there was some encouraging news in the CDC’s latest FluView report.

The national report indicated that most of America is still reporting “high” or “very high” levels of flu, but hospitalizations due to the virus dropped slightly week over week.

The note of optimism is delivered with caution as millions of Americans prepare to gather for the winter holidays, and public health experts encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination helps prevent infection and can also prevent serious outcomes in people who get vaccinated but still get sick with flu,” the CDC emphasized.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • In Pennsylvania:  Through December 10, more than 100,000 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, and there have been 20 confirmed influenza-related deaths.
    • Flu-related illnesses accounted for less than 4.5 percent of emergency department (ED) visits in the state, a slight decline from the prior week.
  • By the numbers:  So far this season, there have been at least 15 million illnesses, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths from flu in the U.S.
  • Hospitalizations:  Nationally, 23,503 patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were admitted to a hospital, a 9 percent drop from the prior week.
  • New research:  Last week, the CDC shared a study indicating that 6 percent of children hospitalized with the flu during the 2021–2022 season also had COVID-19.
  • The bottom line:  “Flu activity decreased slightly during the past week, however, it is too soon to confirm if this will be an early peak of the season,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

HAP has published a toolkit that highlights the strain the flu, RSV, and other seasonal illnesses are placing on hospital EDs and the importance of COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. The communications toolkit is available online.

You can make an appointment to receive your flu or COVID-19 vaccine online.