New York state officials expect flu cases to "set record-high levels" this season. There were 17,233 confirmed flu cases reported to health officials in New York during the week ending Feb. 8.
Of those cases, 753 were reported in Suffolk County, while 616 were in Nassau County, according to state Health Department's "flu tracker" website.
It was the second-highest statewide weekly total since the 1998-1999 flu season, according to state health data. The highest tally during a single week was 18,252 in 2017-18.
So far this flu season, there have been a total of 106,824 influenza cases reported in New York, with three flu-associated pediatric deaths.
Last week alone, 1,993 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza. So far this season, there have been 15,541 flu-related hospitalizations, and state health officials expect things could get even worse based on last week's numbers.
In fact, flu cases in New York this season are expected to set record-high levels since state health officials began tracking flu cases during the 1998-99 season, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"As flu season has not yet peaked across New York, I urge everyone to remain vigilant and take simple precautions to protect themselves and their families," Cuomo said in a statement Thursday.
"I encourage all New Yorkers older than six months to get their flu shot - it's not too late," he added.
In contrast to flu cases piling up, New York as of Thursday had no confirmed cases of coronavirus, which has sickened more than 60,000 across the globe and killed nearly 1,400, mostly in China.
Season setting records
New York's flu season got off to an unusually fast start after public-health officials this fall warned of a potentially bad flu season following an outbreak in Australia, which is typically a predictor of similar trouble in the U.S.
While the national flu numbers aren't setting records like New York, authorities still estimated that so far this season there have been at least 22 million flu illnesses across the country.
Nationally, there have also been an estimated 210,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths from flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overall, national flu hospitalization rates remain similar to this time during recent seasons, but rates among children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons, the CDC said.
Which counties getting hit hard
The tally of flu cases by county last week underscored the reach of the fast-spreading virus.
Outside New York City, the highest totals included Westchester County, at 909 flu cases, and Monroe County, at 695.
Oneida County had 391 flu cases; Herkimer County had 66; Broome County had 366; Orange County had 258; Rockland County had 242; and Dutchess County had 158.
With Newsday staff.
©2020 Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.
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