Health Dept.: Flu is still spreading, so get a shot if you haven't

Flu vaccine
A medical assistant administers a flu vaccine in St. Paul.
Nikki Tundel | MPR News file

Amid a bad flu season, Minnesota health officials are still urging people to get vaccinated if they haven't already.

Health Department epidemiologist Karen Martin said 3,467 Minnesotans have been hospitalized because of influenza, and that number is likely to increase. The full-season average over the past five years is 2,805 hospitalizations for influenza.

"We have been at widespread activity for six weeks now and I anticipate that we'll probably stay for at least one more week," Martin said.

Martin said one child has died in the outbreak.

Health officials don't track adult deaths as closely as childhood fatalities, but they say typically between 100 and 200 adults die from influenza complications every year in Minnesota. They say this season will likely be on par with years past.

Martin said people who feel sick should stay home to avoid spreading the flu.

"That's really going to help to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases that are circulating right now," Martin said.

Your support makes a difference.

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.