ALBANY – The number of confirmed flu cases and flu-related hospitalizations are continuing to rise in New York State.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is now directing the New York State Department of Health to take additional steps to ensure healthcare facilities are prepared for the remainder of the flu season.
The latest influenza surveillance report shows another sharp increase in flu cases and flu-associated hospitalizations. Last week 1,964 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza, up 34 percent from the previous week.
The Governor directed the department to begin enhanced monitoring of hospitals to ensure hospitals have the capacity, guidance and resources necessary to combat the recent surge in hospitalizations.
“As the numbers of flu cases and flu hospitalizations continue to rise, I’ve directed the Department of Health to use every tool at its disposal to make sure our healthcare system remains prepared for an influx of patients,” Governor Cuomo said. “While providers are taking extra steps in response to the uptick in the flu season, New Yorkers can still protect themselves and others by getting a flu shot.”
This season, there have been 5,694 flu-related hospitalizations. In addition, last week, 10,085 laboratory-confirmed flu cases were reported to the State Department of Health, a nine-percent increase in cases from the week prior.
There has been a total of 32,848 lab-confirmed cases reported this season, with one flu-associated pediatric death.
The State Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for complications from influenza, including children under age 2, pregnant women and adults over age 65.
People with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, are also at greater risk, as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use.
Since influenza virus can spread easily by coughing or sneezing, it is also important that family members and people in regular contact with high risk individuals get an influenza vaccine.