Essentia Health issues visitor restrictions - Community reminded how to prevent flu

Posted March 03, 2017

Oklahoma Health Department's Jamie Dukes says the great majority of those hospitalized are in the elderly population, age 65 and up.

The health department says even if you've already had the flu this season the strain is often different at the end of the season so you're still at risk.

Over at Mercy Convenient Care on Memorial Circle in Oklahoma City, the staff is still seeing quite a few patients with flu-like symptoms.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these individuals during this hard time", said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director.

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Comanche County has had 37 hospitalizations and zero flu deaths so far this year.

The other outbreaks were in nursing homes, she said. They say it's not too late to get the flu shot since we still have at least half the season to go.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in February that the flu vaccine protects about half the people who receive it - better than in some years but not as good as in others. By staying home, the agency stresses that means not going to school or work, shopping, social events, public gatherings, travel or any other activity that may expose others.

The news comes as health officials in Halifax County said Wednesday an infant has died of complications from the flu. If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. At the same time, flu activity is now widespread in 44 states after hitting a high of widespread activity in 46 states the prior week.