208 cases of flu reported in St. Lawrence County last week, public urged to take precautions
Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 5:08 pm

With 208 cases of influenza reported in St. Lawrence County and more than 17,000 reported statewide for the week ending Feb. 8, local residents are reminded to take precautions to protect themselves against infection.

A press release from the governor’s office said new numbers released Thursday, Feb. 13 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, the press release said.

The latest influenza surveillance report for the week ending Feb. 8 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, the press release said.

Influenza activity data is available on the New York State Flu Tracker at https://on.ny.gov/2Sq9mYi. 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.

The state Health Department recommends and urges that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination.

In St. Lawrence County, flu shots can be obtained at local Walgreens, Kinneys and Walmart pharmacies; at Price Chopper Pharmacy in Canton and Ogdensburg; Planned Parenthood of the North Country offices at 9 Miner St., Canton and 419 Ford St. in Ogdensburg; and at the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, 80 State Highway 310, Suite 2, Canton.

In addition, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses, said the press release:

• 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.