Last week alone, 26,000 flu patients were hospitalized: 8 FluView notes

Nearly 26,000 lab-confirmed flu patients were admitted to hospitals for the week ending Dec. 3, up from the nearly 20,000 that were admitted the week prior. 

The worst influenza outbreak in nearly a decade is a key factor that has pushed the nation's hospital bed use rate to 80 percent, the highest it has been since the height of the omicron surge in January. 

Seven more notes from the CDC's latest FluView report

1. Most states and regions are reporting very high (30) or high (16) levels of flu activity. South Dakota, Hawaii, West Virginia and Vermont are reporting moderate levels. Michigan and Alaska are the only states reporting low flu activity. New Hampshire is the only state reporting minimal activity. 

2. Seven flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending Dec. 3, all of which were associated with influenza A viruses. This brings the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths to 21 for the 2022-23 season.

3. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate has risen to 26 per 100,000 — nearly 10 times higher than the highest cumulative in-season hospitalization rate at this point in the season in more than a decade. 

4. Clinical laboratories tested 143,924 specimens for influenza for the week ending Dec. 3. Of those, 24.8 percent were positive, most of which for influenza A. The positivity rate was about the same the previous week. 

5. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for influenza-like illness — meaning fever plus cough or sore throat, not lab-confirmed flu — was 7.2 percent for the week ending Dec. 3. This is above the national baseline of 2.5 percent.

6. Nationwide, 5.4 percent of 14,321 long-term care facilities reported at least one flu-positive test among residents for the week ending Dec. 3. That's up from 2.6 percent of the facilities that reported data the previous week. 

7. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 10.3 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6.5 percent for the week. Among the 2,484 deaths reported for the week, 968 had COVID-19 and 246 had the flu listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death. "While current [flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19] mortality is due primarily to COVID-19, the proportion due to influenza remains small but is increasing," the CDC said.

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