Arkansas reports 8 more deaths from the flu

Public health officials have seen “elevated” levels of  COVID, flu, and RSV circulating in the U.S. ahead of the approaching winter holidays. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Public health officials have seen “elevated” levels of COVID, flu, and RSV circulating in the U.S. ahead of the approaching winter holidays. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Eight flu-related deaths were reported in Arkansas over the past week, raising this season's death toll to 48, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

The state remains at a "very high" level of flu activity, based on visits to the doctor by people with a fever and cough or sore throat, according to the department's weekly report.

One of the deaths reported in the past week was of people between ages 45 and 64, and the other seven were of people aged 65 or older.

Of the other people who have died of the flu so far this season, two were age 18-24, three were age 25-44, 10 were 45-64 and 25 were 65 or older.

The department reported that 75% of the 48 people who have died were not vaccinated against the flu.

During the week ending Saturday, 85 people were admitted to hospitals with the flu, up from 71 the previous week, the department reported.

Meanwhile, 73 people were newly hospitalized with covid-19, down from 85 the previous week.

From Oct. 1 through the week ending Feb. 10, Arkansas reported 11,517 confirmed flu cases, up from 9,449 cases as of a week earlier.

Cases usually peak between December and February, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During last year's flu season, the state had a "minimal" level of activity in early February.

Since many people who catch the flu aren't tested, the reported cases make up only a portion of the total cases in the state.

The flu season is generally from October to May. Around this time last year, Arkansas had already reported 139 influenza-related deaths, including one child death.

Eighteen influenza outbreaks have been reported from nursing homes or other congregate setting institutions this flu season, up from 14 the previous week.

Around this time last year, the Health Department reported a total of 21 outbreaks.

Nationally, the CDC estimates 15,000 deaths from flu so far this season, according to the Health Department report.

During last year's flu season, more than 22,500 positive influenza tests were reported to the state Health Department by the spring.

The Health Department also recorded 24 COVID-19-related deaths this week with a total of 701 deaths reported in 2023 and 88 since the start of 2024.

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