Overall number of flu cases, hospitalizations decreasing in Minnesota, 1 new pediatric flu death reported

A total of 110 people have now died from the flu in Minnesota this season, including three children, although the overall number of cases and hospitalizations have decreased recently, according to the latest report from state health officials.  

The Minnesota Department of Health released their Weekly Influenza and Respiratory Illness Activity Report for March 1-7 Thursday, which showed an additional pediatric flu death since the week before, bringing the total number of pediatric flu deaths this season to 3, up from just one the year before. 

The report also showed the number of people dying from the flu is starting to descrease, with only 15 new flu deaths since Feb. 29. 

The number of new school outbreaks also decreased in the last week, with only 22 new outbreaks compared to 44 the week before. 

Overall, there have been 3,577 hospitalizations from the flu so far this season, which is already more than the 2,543 hospitalizations reported in 2019. 

Health officials says the flu remains widespread in Minnesota. 

While the number of cases of the flu appears to be declining, the number of cases of the new coronavirus in Minnesota are beginning to rise. This has left many people wondering how to tell difference between influenza and COVID-19. 

In an interview with FOX 9, Helen Strike, the incident commander for COVID-19 throughout Allina Health, described the symptoms to watch out for when trying to figure out the difference between the flu and COVID-19.

“We really need to think about COVID-19 when it’s behaving not like a flu that you’ve had before—when you have a fever that’s around 103/104, when you really feel like you have a cough that doesn’t go away, when you have shortness of breath—that’s when you need to make a call to a provider,” she said.

Health officials are continuing to stress the importance of all Minnesotans continuing to do those things that can limit the spread of the coronavirus and other viral respiratory illnesses, such as the flu: 

  • Stay home and away from others if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your face throughout the day