Delaware Public Media

More deaths announced following record week for flu cases

Feb 12, 2018

It’s an extremely intense flu season across the country and the First State is no exception. Delaware Division of Public Health officials say the state broke its single week record for flu cases earlier this month.

DPH counted 995 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Delaware from Jan. 28 through Feb. 3—the most ever recorded in one week based on records dating back to 2008. That puts the total flu cases reported in the state at 2,966 this season.

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says though the state’s health systems are strained, they are making procedural changes to accommodate the influx of patients.

“They may be triaging individuals separately, they may be holding off on having some elective procedures,” said Rattay. “Some of them may not be allowing young children to come into the hospitals—this is because children are the age groups that are most likely to spread the infection.”

DPH is also reporting six new flu deaths—all people over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions. Five of the newly reported deaths were in New Castle County and one in Sussex. This puts the death toll at ten for the season.

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says the flu vaccine is not as effective protecting people with separate health issues.

“Individuals especially with any underlying respiratory conditions. So, whether its COPD, or lung cancer, severe asthma puts individuals at risk,” said Rattay, listing some of the conditions putting patients at-risk.

Most flu-related hospitalizations in the state have been older patients, but young people are the most affected age group by the flu. Children under nine years old account for 906 flu cases this season, more than a quarter of the total number of cases.

Rattay says there are still flu vaccinations available and encourages those who have not been vaccinated to do so.