CLEVELAND — Cold and flu season continues to pummel Northeast Ohio, leading to hundreds of hospital admissions in Cuyahoga County alone and thousands of trips to the emergency room.
According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, two flu-related deaths have been reported for this week during the 2019-2020 flu season.
A 47-year-old man from Lakewood and a 73-year-old man from Olmsted Township died this week, bringing the total number of Cuyahoga County deaths to eight.
Health officials said that there have been 675 flu-related hospital admissions in Cuyahoga County in the past five weeks. Of those cases, more than two-thirds of the individuals admitted to the hospital had Influenza A. More than 2,100 people have visited an emergency room in the past five weeks for flu-like symptoms.
Hospitalizations across Northeast Ohio
- Ashland County — 15 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Ashtabula County — 5 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Carroll County — 11 flu cases report since December 2019.
- Erie County — 28 flu-related hospitalizations.
- Geauga County — 22 flu-related hospitalizations since December 2019.
- Holmes County — 12 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Huron County — 31 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Lake County — 61 flu-related hospitalizations since December 2019.
- Lorain County — 74 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Medina County — 28 flu-related hospitalizations this season.
- Stark County — 101 flu-related hospitalizations since September 2019.
- Summit County — 132 flu-related hospitalizations between Jan. 19 and Feb. 1.
- Wayne County — 20 flu-related hospitalizations this season as of Feb. 5.
Cases across the entire State of Ohio
The Ohio Department of Health states that from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, there were more than 830 people from across the state admitted to the hospital for flu-related symptoms, a 36% increase from the previous week, and the highest number of flu-related hospitalizations in a week since the season started.
“The current flu hospitalization numbers are deeply concerning,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “While we must remain vigilant about the serious risk posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus, Ohio’s primary infectious disease threat of the moment is flu.”
Currently, there have been no confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus in Ohio.
Schools close due to high rates of student absences
Recently, some schools across the viewing area had a high rate of student absences, prompting districts to temporarily close some schools so the buildings could be disinfected.
Last week, the Bay Village City School District said a significantly higher than normal number of absences at one of its schools caused the district to close Westerly Elementary for two days so crews could clean the building.
Pediatric flu-related deaths
This week, the Lake County General Health District announced that an 11-year-old girl who died became the first flu-associated pediatric death in the county.
A junior at Berea-Midpark High School who died unexpectedly on New Year's Eve was the first reported pediatric flu-related death in the state.
How to stop the flu from spreading
Here are some tips from the Ohio Department of Health that you can use to stop the spread of the flu:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after touching objects – this is how germs are spread.
- Practice good habits like disinfecting surfaces, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress.
To read more from the Centers for Disease Control about influenza A virus and novel influenza virus, click here.