first_imgThe flu continues to sweep through the community, with elevated levels for the ninth consecutive week this season.For the week of Jan. 1 to 7, the most recent data available, 35 percent of flu tests in Clark County came back positive. That follows two weeks with positivity rates in the 30s — 37 percent the week of Dec. 18 to 24 and 38 percent for Dec. 25 to 31. A positivity rate of more than 10 percent indicates flu transmission is occurring in the community.Local flu activity briefly spiked in early November. Then, in mid-December, flu numbers started climbing again and have remained elevated since.Statewide, flu activity has reached more than 20 percent, prompting state health officials to declare an influenza epidemic. Hospital emergency rooms across the state are being overwhelmed by people seeking treatment for flu-like symptoms.“The flu can make people really sick, and over the past few weeks there has been a dramatic rise in influenza activity across the state,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, health officer for Washington State Department of Health, in a news release. “Most healthy people who get the flu don’t need medical care; however, people who are in a high-risk group, or are very sick or worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider.”As of Dec. 31, the state had confirmed 24 influenza deaths during the 2016-17 flu season. Clark County Public Health is reporting two flu-associated deaths so far this flu season. Both deaths were in people older than 80.Last flu season, the county recorded one influenza-associated death. Clark County typically has two or three influenza-related deaths each year.Even though the flu is circulating, health officials are reminding people that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Anyone 6 months or older who has not yet received a flu shot should get one as soon as possible, as the vaccine takes two weeks to build up full protection.last_img

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