The flu epidemic in Pennsylvania appears to be worsening. In week that ended last Saturday, January 5th, there were 18 flu-related deaths reported across the state, which brings the total for the 2012-2013 flu season to 22. State officials say most people who have died have been over 65 years old.
There were more than 4,200 flu cases reported last week, representing an increase of more than 1,000 over the week before. Nearly 500 people were hospitalized with the flu last week and officials say two of the recent deaths involved people under the age of 50. The state is also reporting 30 flu related outbreaks in nursing homes. Here are the latest flu season totals for our region:
Indiana County: 128 cases
Jefferson County: 33 cases
Cambria County: 87 cases
Clearfield County: 90 cases
Armstrong County: 44 cases
Westmoreland County: 507 cases (among the highest in Pennsylvania.)
State officials say because most people don’t get the lab test required to confirm the flu, the state total is likely much higher than the reported numbers. Of course, we’ve been following the epidemic with Indiana Regional Medical Center. At three sites last weekend, 760 were given free flu shots.