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Flu hospitalizations up, doctors urge Ohioans to utilize vaccines for flu and COVID-19

When it comes to another important tool to stay safe, COVID-19 test kits are more readily available than this same time last year.

WORTHINGTON, Ohio — This time last year, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the demand for COVID-19 tests was high and the supply was low. 

This year is a little different. Stacks of COVID tests are available for the taking at walk-in vaccine clinics like one held in Worthington Friday through Columbus Public Health.

"They're more recently readily found. We want people to have those available,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo at OhioHealth.

RELATED: Weekly COVID-19 data provided by Ohio Department of Health | Nov. 3 update

Dr. Gastaldo said now is the time to have a plan to protect you and your family from COVID and the flu.

“What we're seeing now really is a concern because we have not seen this many flu hospitalizations since 2009."

We asked why that's the case.

“Flu activity is expected to be higher this year because of COVID fatigue and us not necessarily being as cognizant when it comes to wearing masks. In addition to that, there are many people including kids who have not really previously seen this virus for a few years. So there are more vulnerable people.”

Hospitalizations are up more than 300% but consider this:

“It’s been reported that from the week of Oct. 23, through Oct. 29th in the state of Ohio, there were 135 confirmed influenza hospitalizations in context, the five-year average previously in Ohio for the same week was in the 30 to 40 range,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “So that is concerning."

See the latest flu activity report here.

COVID-19 in Ohio: Recent Coverage ⬇️

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