Flu hospitalizations rise 7th straight week: 8 CDC notes

Flu activity continues to rise in most of the U.S., with the highest flu test positivity levels seen in Central and South-Central states, according to the CDC's March 25 FluView report. 

Eight CDC updates: 

1. For the week ending March 19, 2,733 lab-confirmed flu patients were hospitalized, up from 2,082 the week before. The cumulative hospitalization rate was 6.5 per 100,000 population, up from 5.9 per 100,000 the prior week. This marks the seventh consecutive week flu-related hospital admissions reported to HHS have increased. 

2. No states reported very high flu activity, though Oklahoma reported high activity for the third week in a row. Seven states (Idaho, Iowa, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and West Virginia) reported moderate flu activity. Utah reported low flu activity, while remaining states reported minimal activity. Washington, D.C., did not report sufficient data. 

3. No new pediatric flu-related deaths were reported for the week ending March 19. The cumulative number of pediatric flu-related deaths this season is 13. 

4. Of all specimens tested in a clinical lab, 7.7 percent were positive for the flu for the week ending March 19, up from 6.8 percent the previous week. 

5. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for respiratory illness was 1.8 percent for the week ending March 19, slightly higher than the previous week's 1.7 percent, but below the national baseline of 2.5 percent.

6. Nationwide, 0.7 percent of long-term care facilities reported more than one flu-positive test among residents for the week, the same as the week prior. 

7. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 9.1 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. Among the 1,788 deaths reported for the week, 928 had COVID-19, and 17 had flu listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death. This indicates the current death rate for pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 is primarily due to COVID-19, the CDC said. 

8. The CDC estimates that there have been at least 3.1 million flu illnesses, 31,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 flu-related deaths this season.

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