CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — For the second week in a row, flu activity in Cuyahoga County has been listed as “very high.”
It comes amid new flu details released by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health on Friday that reflects data from Nov. 27 through Dec. 3, which officials label as week 48.
The total number of hospitalizations to date now stands at 367.
“This number is higher at week 48 of the flu season than the total for the last 12 flu seasons combined at week 48,” a spokesperson for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health noted.
Here are additional highlights from the new data released Friday morning:
- Flu activity level remained “very high” for the second consecutive week.
- 3.7% of deaths reported were due to pneumonia
- No flu deaths this week. One flu death so far this season.
- 122 confirmed cases of flu-associated hospitalizations were reported this week. 367 hospitalizations for the flu season.
- 5.5% of emergency department visits were for flu-like symptoms.
"I'm very concerned about the wellness and health of our residents and citizens," said Richard Stacklin, Cuyahoga County Board of Health data analyst.
He said currently H3N2 is the dominant strain that's been known to cause more severe sickness and can be more deadly.
"We noticed in a long-term CDC study that when H3N2 is the dominant strain its more likely to cause more flu related deaths in the season," Stacklin said.
Updated data from the Ohio Department of Health shows a drastic spike in flu hospitalizations across the state, over 1,400 this past week compared to the five-year average of less than 100.
Stacklin said it's disproportionately affecting minority communities in Cuyahoga County.
"What we've seen in our community is African-American residents have been hospitalized due to flu at three times the rate of white residents, we've also seen that the female population has been hospitalized at a higher rate than male citizens," Stacklin said.
Last month, a 13-year-old Cuyahoga County boy died from the flu, which was the first reported flu death in the state
The CDC is reporting over 7,000 flu deaths nationwide.
"For all 10-year age groups that I look at, we have at least 20 people hospitalized for all age groups," Stacklin said. "So whether you're young, you're old, you feel like you're at your healthiest, your peak as an adult, everyone is being hospitalized at a certain level."
With concerns of flu, RSV and COVID, health officials have been urging everybody to get vaccinated and wash their hands.
You can see the full flu report in the document below.