State health officials reported today that 23 people died—and more than 400 people were hospitalized with flu symptoms in Minnesota—during the first week of January (Dec. 30-Jan. 5).
The new data released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows that the state is experiencing a very severe flu season, with significant numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
This post will be updated with more Oakdale-specific information as it is made available.
To date, Minnesota hospitals have reported 1,121 hospitalizations due to influenza-like illness, state health officials announced. For the week ending Jan. 5 alone, there were 401 hospitalizations. State officials have confirmed a total so far of 27 deaths due to influenza or influenza-related complications.
“What is occurring has happened before. This is what influenza looks like, this is what it can do,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger.
“That’s why we stress every year the importance of prevention measures, such as getting a flu shot, covering your cough, washing your hands and staying home if you are ill. We never know at the beginning of a flu season what it’s going to look like.”
You can still protect yourself from influenza and limit the spread of the disease.
State health officials say it’s not too late: “If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, get vaccinated for influenza.”
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in Oakdale that offer the vaccine:
- HealthEast Oakdale Clinic
- Target pharmacy
During flu season, besides getting vaccinated, there are other steps people can take to avoid spreading or catching influenza:
- Stay home when ill.
- Cover your cough
- Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Treat symptoms with over the counter medications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following information about the flu vaccine:
- Who should get vaccinated
- When to get vaccinated
- Selecting a flu vaccine
- Symptoms, complications and severity
- Treatment if you get the flu
- How flu spreads
The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill or those at risk for severe disease with influenza, who have influenza-like symptoms contact their healthcare provider promptly.