Flu, RSV hospitalizations jump in Minnesota

Respiratory illnesses continue to circulate throughout Minnesota, leading to another increase in hospitalizations over the past week.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s latest report shows another increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases and hospitalizations, which have already been high for a few weeks.

Last week, nearly 160 Minnesotans were hospitalized with RSV cases in the Twin Cities metro area, and around 110 of those were kids 1 year of age and younger. Just over 120 RSV hospitalizations were recorded each of the prior two weeks, per MDH’s report.

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Additionally, influenza hospitalizations jumped significantly last week, with 42 flu-related hospitalizations compared to 14 the week before. A total of 72 flu-related hospitalizations have now been reported in Minnesota this season.

MDH data shows the metro has been hit particularly hard by the flu so far, accounting for 85% of the state’s hospitalizations. However, positive tests for the flu also jumped in the southwest part of the state.

A second person also died from flu-related complications, MDH’s report notes.

The respiratory illness is also making its way into schools, with 18 new school outbreaks reported last week, raising the total for the season to 35. An outbreak is when 5% of a school’s students have a flu-like illness or three or more kids from the same elementary classroom have a flu-like illness.

The first long-term care outbreak related to the flu was also reported.

While Minnesota is still seeing minimal flu-related activity overall, it is increasing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates around 880,000 flu illnesses so far this season, with nearly 7,000 related hospitalizations and 360 deaths. The south and southeast part of the country have been hit the hardest so far, according to CDC data.

Health officials recommend everyone at least 6 months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible.