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Suffolk: Free flu shot clinic in Riverhead on Saturday

Agency report notes that influenza cases are on the decline but persistent strains of the virus remain a health threat.

Pharmacist Gregory Lachhman administers a flu shot during

Pharmacist Gregory Lachhman administers a flu shot during a free flu-shot drive by Rite Aid at Molloy College in Rockville Centre on Feb. 15, 2018. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

Even as a particularly harsh mix of influenza viruses has continued to sicken Americans from Long Island to Louisiana, from Connecticut to California, health officials offered up some rare good news Friday for the afflicted and those still scrambling to get vaccinated — the worst could soon be over.

A report released Friday by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the first signs this season of flu activity declining nationwide. Doctor visits for treatment of the wintertime respiratory illness and its accompanying aches, chills and hacking coughs, dropped from 7.5 percent of all physician visits last week to 6.4 percent this week, the CDC said.

Hospitalizations for the flu declined in New York State for the second straight week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday as he extended his executive order promoting flu vaccination. Yet even with positive signs pointing to an ebbing of the flu season, health officials cautioned the virus is not dead yet.

Despite the latest 13 percent decline in flu hospitalizations statewide, there has also been a 9 percent increase in lab-confirmed flu cases. The CDC report said that flu activity remained widespread in most states and also noted 13 additional pediatric deaths from influenza.

Suffolk residents who delayed getting a flu shot still have time to get immunized. County officials are offering free flu shots for Suffolk residents older than 6 months from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Riverhead Library, 330 Court St. Free flu shots will also be available from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Congressional Church of Patchogue, 95 E. Main St.

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