Flu activity continues downward trend, death numbers jump again

For the third consecutive week, respiratory illness activity has dropped in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s latest influenza report shows the percentage of positive molecular lab tests dropped last week to 15.1%, down from 21.5% the week before.

Flu-related hospitalizations last week also dropped by nearly half compared to the week before (154 compared to 289), but 2,784 hospitalizations have now been reported across Minnesota this flu season.

Additionally, school outbreaks plummeted last week, with only four reported, and only 11 long-term care outbreaks were reported.

However, the number of flu-related deaths jumped once again. The latest report shows 20 more deaths than last week’s report, although many of the deaths happened in weeks prior and were just delayed in getting reported. A total of 91 Minnesotans have now died due to flu-related causes this season, and their median age is 81.

Some good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also downgraded Minnesota’s flu activity from “high” to the “moderate” level.

So far this season, the CDC estimates at least 18 million illnesses have been reported, 190,000 of which have resulted in hospitalization and 12,000 in death across the U.S.