On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo reminded residents to take recommended precautions to protect themselves from the flu as new numbers released this week show flu activity still has not reached its peak this season. Flu cases in New York this season are expected to set record-high levels since the New York State Department of Health began tracking flu cases during the 1998-99 season.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage all New Yorkers older than six months to get their flu shot – it’s not too late.”
The latest influenza surveillance report for the week ending February 8th shows seasonal flu activity continues to be widespread across New York State for the eleventh consecutive week. As indicated in the report, there were 17,233 laboratory-confirmed flu cases reported to the State Department of Health, the second highest weekly total since the 1998-1999 flu season. The most lab-confirmed influenza cases reported during a single week in a flu season was 18,252 in 2017-18. There have been a total of 106,824 lab-confirmed cases reported in New York State this season, with three flu-associated pediatric deaths. Last week, 1,993 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza. So far this season, there have been 15,541 flu-related hospitalizations.
Influenza activity data is available on the New York State Flu Tracker. The Flu Tracker is a dashboard on the New York State Health Connector that provides timely information about local, regional and statewide influenza activity. Flu season occurs primarily from October through May, and the 2019-20 season has yet to peak.
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “While flu activity is higher than usual this season and it has not yet peaked, taking basic preventive steps such as washing hands often, covering a cough or sneeze with your arm, and staying home when experiencing flu-like symptoms, will help prevent the spread of the flu.”
On January 3, the State Department of Health issued a statewide health advisory alerting healthcare providers to the dramatic increase in flu activity across New York State.
The State Health Department recommends and urges that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. In addition, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For additional information about influenza in New York State, visit the Department of Health web page.
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