Minnesota records historically low flu season amid COVID-19 pandemic

Flu hospitalizations hit historic lows during the 2020-2021 flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Minnesota Department of Health)

Minnesota closed out its latest flu season with historically low numbers, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Minnesota's 2020-2021 flu season saw only 35 hospitalizations and five deaths, with zero pediatric deaths. Compare that to the year before which recorded 4,022 hospitalizations and 197 deaths linked to the flu.

MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann accounts the low amount of flu activity to the measures put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, like social distancing, increased hand washing, and wearing face masks. 

"While it’s impossible to say whether this would have been an otherwise high-activity flu season or more typical lower activity season, these measures seemed to have impacted flu across the globe," said Ehresmann in a statement.

The flu season in the U.S. occurs in fall and winter, usually peaking between December and February, with activity lasting as late as May. Experts encourage people to get a flu shot each year for protection against the virus.