SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Health officials in Summit County report that the level of influenza activity has increased 'significantly' since late January and continues to be high.
From January 26 to February 15, there have been 235 influenza-associated hospitalizations reported by Summit County hospitals.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, here are the number of influenza-associated hospitalizations by county in Northeast Ohio for the 2019-2020 flu season:
- Cuyahoga 1042
- Summit 280
- Stark 159
- Lorain 96
- Lake 85
- Portage 68
- Medina 45
- Ashtabula 26
- Geauga 24
Pediatric flu has also claimed the life of two children in Northeast Ohio this season. The first victim was a 16-year-old Cuyahoga County girl. More recently, an 11-year-old Lake County girl died from pediatric flu
The Ohio Department of Health is also reminding the public that young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the flu. Those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women should also be vigilant in taking preventative measures.
Although the COVID-19 coronavirus has been the dominant health topic in the news and is a valid concern, Summit County Public Health officials emphasize that influenza continues to be the respiratory infection that is the most immediate threat to residents.
The best way to prevent influenza is the flu shot, however the Ohio Department of Health offers other guidance to help stop the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases by taking these precautions:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after touching objects – this is how germs are spread.
- Practice good habits like disinfecting surfaces, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress.
RELATED: Telemedicine: The perks and pitfalls