NEW YORK (WKBW) — Cases of the flu have risen by 72 percent in just the past week in New York State, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. New cases of the flu were also reported in 58 out of 62 counties.
The governor’s office reports that the number of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza was 363, which is a 41 percent increase from last week.
"With an increase in flu cases in every corner of this state, I want to remind New Yorkers who have not been vaccinated against the flu that it is not too late to take this critical action," Governor Cuomo said. "Flu season is in full-swing, and as the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, we must do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones."
State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "We strongly encourage anyone who has not yet gotten the flu vaccine to get one immediately to combat this significant threat to public health. Getting vaccinated protects you as well as the people around you, including those who are more vulnerable, like babies and young children, elderly people and people with chronic health conditions."
The Department of Health has launched the New York State Flu Tracker, which is an easy to understand source of influenza data. The dashboard displays the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases by county, week and influenza type for the current season and the three previous seasons.
The governor’s office is also offering these tips to help prevent the spread of the flu:
- Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. People with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin.