The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 1,323 laboratory-confirmed flu cases and seven flu-associated deaths statewide as of Jan. 2.
According to the department, flu activity is currently low across the Commonwealth. There are flu cases in 51 of the 67 counties. Influenza A and B have been identified by laboratory testing.
“We are entering the heart of flu season and are just a couple months away from being a year into the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Since COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms, I encourage you to monitor your health by tracking your symptoms daily in the ‘check-in’ feature in the COVID Alert PA app. Finally, continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and following all of the mitigation efforts in place. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.”
A total of 18 influenza associated hospitalizations have been reported during the current flu season. The full flu report can be found on the 2020-2021 flu season webpage, here.
Flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms:
- Dry cough;
- Sore throat;
- Nasal congestion; and
- Body aches.
“COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high and we cannot afford to have a flu epidemic in Pennsylvania at the same time as this global pandemic,” Deputy Secretary of Health Preparedness and Community Protection Ray Barishansky said. “If you have not already gotten your flu vaccine this season, please start the new year off by doing so. We know that people who get the flu after being vaccinated have a less severe case and are not sick for as long as those who do not get vaccinated. Keeping Pennsylvanians safe and healthy remains our number one concern.”
The department of health encourages Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated, and to practice healthy habits — such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, frequently washing your hands, and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects.
Pennsylvanians are also encouraged to practice COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding small and large gatherings and downloading the COVID Alert PA app.
If you do become sick with the flu, the department of health advises you to stay home.