The number of flu hospitalizations in Weld and Larimer counties this season grew to 92 and 52, respectively, as of Jan. 25, but officials say influenza activity has peaked and is now on the decline.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s weekly flu report released Jan. 28 reports a total of 1,312 hospitalizations in 52 counties across the state. While flu activity remains elevated, the report states it is continuing to decrease after peaking during the week of Jan. 4.
Over the past week, Weld County reported four new flu hospitalizations, according to the report. Each of the two prior weeks reported eight hospitalizations in the county.
In Larimer County, five cases were reported in the last week, and two cases in each of the two weeks prior.
Despite the report’s indication that flu activity is on the decline, county health department spokesman Eric Aakko said flu season is unpredictable and a second wave of infections can occur after the peak of flu season.
“Generally, this time of year (flu cases) can peak, but you can have a second wave, too, it just depends on how virulent the strain is in a given year,” Aakko said.
He also said while flu deaths aren’t regularly tracked by the state, he hadn’t heard of any more flu deaths in Weld County after two people died from the virus within about a month of each other earlier this season.
Last flu season, 126 people were hospitalized in Weld because of the flu. That number was a spike from the previous two flu seasons when 35 and 78 people were hospitalized in the 2011-12 and 2010-11 flu seasons, according to numbers from the health department.
Aakko said there are still a few months left in the flu season, and anyone who still hasn’t been vaccinated still has time to do so. He said vaccinations are available at the county health department, most pharmacies and through primary care physicians.
Aakko also said the ongoing outbreak of pertussis — commonly known as whooping cough — is also something people should be on the lookout for.
“If the cough has been around longer than two weeks and it’s a very hard cough, you should get checked,” Aakko said.