(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Flu cases are making a comeback this winter after masks and social distancing helped make last year one of the mildest flu seasons on record.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday released numbers for the current 2021-2022 flu season, and also urged residents to get their flu shot.
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The DOH is reporting flu activity is currently high across the state.
As of Jan. 18, 2022, there have been 28,475 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. So far this year, there have been 16 reported flu deaths. Flu cases have been identified in all 67 counties. Influenza A and B have been identified by laboratory testing.
This time last year, the Health Department reported just 1,323 flu cases, seven flu-associated deaths and 18 hospitalizations.
In May 2021, the DOH released the final numbers for the 2020-2021 flu season — 3,664 total flu cases and 21 flu-associated deaths statewide — a 95 percent decrease from the 2019-2020 flu season.
The flu causes symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. The flu shot is available for anyone 6 months and older.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged 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, including doorknobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers, according to the DOH. You can also take advantage of the COVID Alert PA app to monitor your flu and COVID-19 symptoms since they are similar.
Click here for more information on the 2021-2022 flu season.