Confirmed cases of flu rising across NY state

ALBANY, N.Y.  — The Cuomo administration says the number of confirmed cases of influenza is rising across New York state, with more than 5,400 people coming down with the illness so far this season.

The state Department of Health says as of Thursday new cases of flu have been reported in 58 counties, including the five boroughs of New York City. Only Wyoming, Yates, Seneca and Hamilton counties are not reporting any cases yet.

Officials say the number of people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu was 363 this past week, a 41 percent increase over the previous week. So far this season more than 1,300 people have been hospitalized with the flu.

Seven pediatric deaths have been reported to CDC so far this season.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 185 children died across the country last year. More than 700,000 hospitalizations were reported across the country among adults and children.

During most seasons, about 80 percent of reported pediatric deaths occur in unvaccinated children, CDC reported.

Parents told PIX11 their children receive vaccines every year.

"I don't know what you're thinking if you're not vaccinating. There's no jokes about it. You gotta get your kids vaccinated," said Adam Ilkowitz,  father to two children.

Last year's flu peaked from January to March, but this year a massive uptick is being seen in the week prior to Christmas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging flu vaccinations for all New Yorkers six months of age and older.

According to health officials, the best ways to prevent getting the flu are:

  • Wash hands often with hot water and soap
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer with 60-percent alcohol
  • Never cough or sneeze into your hands. Use a tissue.
  • Those with the flu are contagious for about seven days.
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