Connecticut health officials say the flu is to blame for 32 deaths in the state so far this season.
The state Department of Public Health released its weekly report on Thursday. According to the report, from Aug. 27 through Jan. 20, 824 patients were hospitalized with confirmed cases of the flu. There have been 32 deaths attributed to the flu – 28 in patients over the age of 65, two in patients between 50 and 64, 1 patient between 25 and 49, and one between the ages of 5 and 17.
Flu activity in the state remains high and widespread and officials encourage residents to get a flu shot. Officials warn that peak flu season could still be several weeks away.
Dr. David Banach, an epidemiologist and infectious disease physician at UConn Health, told NBC Connecticut that this flu season has been more severe than recent years.
"What we're seeing is a lot of patients becoming infected with the flu a lot of infected individuals being hospitalized with the flu and even higher numbers of deaths from the flu than we've seen in recent years," Banach said.
Banach said the strain most prevalent is included in the vaccine and urged people to get a flu shot.
"Even those individuals who become sick with the flu after becoming vaccinated can have less severe symptoms and potentially a lower risk of transmitting the flu to other people whom they're around," he said.
In an effort to protect the public’s health and reduce the spread of the flu virus, DPH will hold a State Flu Vaccination Day Saturday.
Vaccines for children 18 years of age and under will be available for free. Adult vaccines will be provided for free for anyone without insurance. Residents with insurance should bring their card and will be charged a small administrative fee, according to the Department of Public Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that this year the flu is peaking across the entire US, making for a very active flu season.