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Clark County flu rates dip slightly

It looks like your relatives didn’t make you too sick over the holidays.

According to Clark County Public Health’s weekly influenza report, flu rates in Clark County dipped slightly over Christmas. In week 51 (Dec. 15 through Dec. 21), flu positivity stood at 42.92 percent. The following week, Dec. 22 through Dec. 28, flu positivity dropped to 40.88 percent. Flu positivity is the number of positive flu tests out of the number of flu tests given. Public Health collects the data from local providers.

Clark County has been in active flu season since early December. Cowlitz County recorded 38 percent flu positivity in week 52. Washington had 28.7 percent positivity for week 51, and the U.S. had 22.06 percent positivity for week 51, the latest data available for the state and nation. Oregon reported 30.8 percent positivity for the same time period.

Slightly more than 90 percent of positive flu tests in Clark County have been for influenza B, which is similarly contagious and as severe as influenza A.

For 2018-19, Clark County’s peak positivity was 44 percent. That season, the county had four flu deaths and 11 long-term care facility outbreaks. In 2016-17, the county had 26 flu deaths, and in 2017-18, one of the deadliest flu seasons on record in the U.S., Clark County had 15 flu deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million flu cases have been diagnosed so far this year, with roughly 2 million of those cases coming in the last month. Close to 40,000 people have been hospitalized from the flu this season, and more than 2,000 people have died.

In November, Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick told The Columbian the flu shot is the best way to stop the spread of the flu.

“Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for those around you,” he said.


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