Flu hospitalizations, deaths continue climbing in Minnesota

After a very quiet start to the influenza season, flu activity has started to increase.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s latest flu activity report for the week ending Dec. 25 shows hospitalizations spiked and more deaths were reported, too.

MDH’s report lists two new flu-related deaths last week, raising the state’s total for the season to seven. A week earlier, the state reported three new flu-related deaths, including the lone pediatric death thus far.

Flu-related hospitalizations also jumped for the fourth straight week, with 77 reported last week after 41 were reported the previous week. A total of 166 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported in Minnesota so far this season.

Flu-related school outbreaks stayed steady, with 21 new reports last week, down slightly from 26 the previous week. A total of 109 flu-related school outbreaks have been reported in the state this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still lists Minnesota as one of the few states with "minimal" influenza activity, despite the recent uptick in reports. However, bordering states are seeing an uptick in flu activity, particularly in Iowa and North Dakota, which are listed in the "moderate" to "high" categories.