Four flu-related deaths have been reported in Connecticut this flu season, the state Department of Public Health says.
Three of the deaths were associated with influenza A, the other with influenza B.
Three of the victims were 65 or older, while the fourth was between 50 and 64.
From Aug. 26 to Dec. 29, 2018, 787 influenza-positive laboratory tests were reported in Connecticut, 242 in Hartford County. Hospitals admitted 268 patients with lab-confirmed flu during that period
“Fever/flu syndrome” accounted for 10.8 percent of hospital emergency department visits in the week ending Dec. 29, up for 8.5 percent the previous week, according to the DPH.
Influenza in the state has been classified as widespread since the week ending Dec. 22.
Mark Tabaka, a physician’s assistant at New England Urgent Care in Bristol, said the walk-in clinic started to see an increase in flu cases just before Christmas. According to Tabaka, while none of the patients have been sent to the hospital, the clinic has had several people test positive for influenza.
Dr. David Buono, chief of emergency medicine at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, said the hospital conducts campaigns urging people to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough, as those are two ways to help keep flu from spreading.
“We do flu shots, we educate, we have signs up for the public that it is flu season and that if you are sick you really shouldn’t visit patients in the hospital,” Buono said. “I think the biggest thing to let people know is that prevention and spread is the key. Flu shots really help prevent getting the flu and if you do get the flu it will be a much milder case usually. If you are sick, stay home, because people go to work thinking ‘I don’t want to call out sick today,’ but what happens is you go to work sick and you spread it to your coworkers.”
To learn more about flu season, visit the Department of Public Health’s website at www.portal.ct.gov .
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.