INDIANAPOLIS— The number of reported flu-related deaths once again doubled in the span of a week, according to the Indiana Department of Health.
Officials say 48 people have died from the flu so far this season. This is 24 more deaths than was reported the previous week. However, the deaths did not necessarily happen in the last week.
Of the deaths this season, 1 was a person between the age of 5-24, 2 were people between 25-49 years old, 11 people were between 50-64 years old and 34 people were at least 65 years old.
The flu report includes the first pediatric flu death in Indiana, there have been 30 pediatric deaths nationwide.
Nationwide, there have been 34,503 people admitted to the hospital with influenza over the last week.
So far this season, the CDC estimates there have been at least 15 million illnesses, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths from flu. Nationally, the hospitalization rate is higher than the rate seen at the same time during every previous season since 2010-2011.
The CDC says the highest rate of hospitalization is among adults aged 65 and older followed by children aged 0-4 years.
Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor says Indiana hospitals are experiencing significant patient caseloads with many respiratory illnesses currently circulating, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.
“Hospitalizations are currently trending above last year’s levels, and at this pace, Indiana could meet or exceed the record levels of inpatient capacity we saw during the peak of COVID-19,” Tabor said. “As of this week, inpatient volume jumped 15 percent, with numbers surpassing 11,000.”
The latest information from the Indiana Health Department has Indiana emergency departments and urgent care centers already above the peak of all but one previous flu season for the percent of patients with influenza-like illness.
As of Friday, the majority of states have either high or very high influenza-like-illness activity levels.
In Indiana, Clark and Marion County have the largest amount of influenza-associated deaths at 5 each.
The CDC says the majority of influenza viruses tested are similar to those included in this season’s vaccine. That is why they are encouraging everyone older than 6 months to get vaccinated.
The CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.