Dept. of Public Health announces CT’s first flu death of the season

DPH reports CT's first flu death of the season
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 4:00 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Connecticut’s first flu death of the season.

Health officials said the adult between the age of 50 – 59 died in November. They lived in New London County.

“This is a tragic reminder that the 2022-23 flu season is already an active one. As we approach the holidays, I strongly recommend that persons 6 months of age and older get a flu shot,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

Health leaders warn that we’re dealing with particularly high numbers of multiple respiratory viruses.

So far this flu season there have been 6,000 reported cases and 102 hospitalizations, according to Juthani.

The worry is that’s an underreported number of cases. So few people actually test for the flu and many don’t report having it.

“Flu season occurs between October and May, however, highest levels of influenza are traditionally seen between December and March,” DPH said.

After many large family gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday and many more to come this holiday season, state health leaders are urging everyone to be careful.

“Our last particularly bad flu season was in the 2019-2020 flu season and for this time of year, we are far higher than any of the last four years in terms of flu seasons,” said Juthani.

It’s not the only virus going around.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been infecting our youngest for months.

There have been nearly 1,000 cases so far. It’s straining Connecticut’s two children’s hospitals.

Juthani said they’ve been working with hospitals in the state and northeast region, developing plans to help each other with space.

“Particularly when it comes to ICU-level care, that if there is the capability for one hospital, if there’s a very, very sick child, to be able to send them to another place should it be necessary,” Juthani said.

For both viruses, the youngest and the oldest have been impacted the most.

Juthani said she hopes since both started spreading early, their seasons will end early, too.

There is a good sign in the data, at least for RSV right now.

“Although the burden is still there, we are starting to see a plateau in Hartford county, and certainly a reduction when we look at the state overall.,” said Juthani.

DPH reminded residents of the importance of flu shots.

“At this time all Connecticut residents should also make sure that they have received their annual flu shot and are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended boosters,” DPH said.

For information on local flu vaccine clinics, click here.