After Rising Deaths, Flu Cases in Delaware Drop - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

After Rising Deaths, Flu Cases in Delaware Drop

Posted: Mar 05, 2018 1:54 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del. -- While flu in Delaware continues to be widespread, the Division of Public Health (DPH) announces single-week flu numbers are finally starting to drop.

According to DPH, there were 893 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases for the week of February 18, a sharp decline from the record-setting 1,521 cases reported the previous week. The numbers provided only reflect laboratory-confirmed cases, but officials say the actual number of flu cases in Delaware is likely much higher. The 893 new cases bring the season total to 6,674 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases for the 2017-2018 season in Delaware, the highest number of confirmed cases since record-keeping began in the 2004-2005 season.

DPH is also announcing five more flu-related deaths, bringing the total to 28, tying the highest death total on record in 2014-2015. The victims ranged in age from 53 to 92; all five were from New Castle County and all had multiple underlying health conditions.

“While we believe that flu season has peaked for us in Delaware, flu is still widespread and at high levels in our state, and will likely continue to circulate for weeks to come,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We strongly encourage everyone to continue practicing the important preventive measures we have been promoting including staying home when you’re sick, calling your doctor at the first signs of flu-like illness, washing your hands frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes.”

If you are sick, health officials warn do not go to school, work, or other social functions until you are fever-free (temperature less than 100 degrees F; 37.8 degrees C) for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

Although the overall number of flu cases have gone down, DPH says as the flu is still circulating in the community, there is still time to get a flu vaccine. DPH has added several flu clinics to its schedule. There will be a clinic Tuesday, March 6, at the Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is also a clinic scheduled on Wednesday, March 7 at the Williams State Service Center at 805 River Road, Dover, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration will be in the first floor lobby. DPH offers ongoing free flu shots at five State Service Centers.

For more information about free flu clinics, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. To shorten your wait time, you can complete the vaccination form found at the bottom of the webpage and bring it with you.

DPH continues to emphasize the importance of taking antivirals if prescribed by your doctor, and visiting either your doctor or a walk-in clinic rather than the emergency room when symptoms are non-life threatening. People who are extremely ill with symptoms such as trouble breathing, bluish skin color, fever with a rash, dizziness, or severe or persistent vomiting should seek out immediate medical help. Your primary care provider may decide to provide antiviral medications to help speed up recovery and prevent serious complications without an in-office visit. DPH asks medical providers to consider starting antiviral treatment for all hospitalized patients and all high-risk patients with suspected influenza. In addition, DPH encourages providers to consider antiviral treatment for any patients with influenza-like illness, including those not usually considered to be at high risk for influenza complications.

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