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Flu activity still low as usual peak of season arrives.

The peak of the seasonal flu season usually arrives in January or February. But activity as of the week ending Jan. 9 continues to be unusually low in Pierce County and across the state and country.

The level of hospitalizations is lower this flu season than at this point in for the past three flu seasons. And in past years, we’ve seen dozens of flu deaths, overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms, and many more positive flu tests.

 Flu season   Flu deaths in Pierce County
 2016-2017   49
 2017-2018  31
 2018-2019  42
 2019-2020  14
 Oct. 1, 2020-Jan. 9, 2021  0

 

Last flu season in Pierce County, the first week in January had 5.9%—or 1,465 out of 24,907—of all emergency room or urgent care visits for influenza like illness (ILI). This year, 0.5% of people—130 out of 24,283—went to urgent care or an emergency room for ILI.

During COVID-19, fewer people in hospitals because of flu helps our healthcare system retain capacity for COVID-19 patients. This helps meet the state’s Roadmap to Recovery metrics.

What you’ve done to limit the spread of COVID-19 is protecting our community against the flu, too.

Keep up the good work.

Thank you to everyone who already got a flu shot. You’re protecting yourself and those around you. If you still need to get one, it’s not too late! Ask your healthcare provider, go to a local pharmacy or visit our flu page to find a location near you.

We monitor flu activity October through April every year. This year, we’re watching even more closely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll regularly post flu activity updates in our blog to help you stay in the know.

Flu activity during the week of Jan. 3-9

In Pierce County:

  • Flu activity was unusually low.
  • Last flu season during first week of January, visits to emergency departments and urgent care facilities for ILI were 10 times higher than the same week this year.
  • There were 1,730 hospitalizations, 9 (0.5%) for flu-like illness.
  • Local labs reported 554 flu tests, 2 (0.4%) of which were positive.
  • So far this season, long-term care facilities report no flu-like illness outbreaks.
  • So far this season, providers report no flu deaths.

In Washington:

  • Flu activity was low.
  • So far this season, long-term care facilities report no flu-like illness outbreaks.
  • So far this season, providers report no flu deaths.

In the United States:

  • Flu activity was unusually low.
  • Five jurisdictions reported low ILI activity and the remaining jurisdictions reported minimal activity.

Protect your health.

Like COVID-19, the flu is a serious respiratory illness. Each year in Washington, the flu kills hundreds of people and sends thousands more to the hospital. Last flu season, the flu killed 14 people in Pierce County, 2 of whom were children.

Flu season lasts through April and beyond. Get a flu shot.

Getting a flu shot is the best protection against the flu. It can stop you from getting the flu. If you do get sick, your illness will be milder and shorter. And it protects you and those around you all season.

You can get a flu shot at a pharmacy or clinic. Visit our flu page to find a location near you.

Together, we’re working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19. Let’s fight the flu, too, Pierce County.

Flu Update. Let's fight the flu, too, Pierce County! Learn more at tpchd.org/flu.