Nearly 9,000 flu patients hospitalized last week: 8 FluView notes

Flu activity metrics are quickly ramping up in the US, with 8,707 lab-confirmed flu patients admitted to hospitals for the week ending Nov. 12, according to the CDC's latest FluView report

That's up from the more than 6,400 flu patients hospitalized the week prior. The CDC now estimates there have been at least 4.4 million flu cases, 38,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 flu-related deaths so far this season. The CDC emphasizes that data in the reports are preliminary and may change as more data become available. 

Seven more notes: 

1. Fourteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Colorado and Kentucky), the District of Columbia and New York City reported very high flu activity for the week ending Nov. 12. Thirteen states (California, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, New York and Connecticut) and Puerto Rico reported high flu activity. The remaining states reported low or minimal activity. 

2. Two flu-associated deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending Nov. 12. This brings the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths to seven for the 2022-23 season. 

3. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate is 8.1 per 100,000 — the highest it's been this early in the season since the 2010-11 flu season. 

4. Clinical laboratories tested 103,830 specimens for influenza for the week ending Nov. 12. Of those, 14.7 percent were positive, most of which for influenza A. The positivity rate was 12.8 percent 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 5.8 percent for the week ending Nov. 12. This is above the national baseline of 2.5 percent.

6. Nationwide, 1.2 percent of 14,161 long-term care facilities reported at least one flu-positive test among residents for the week ending Nov. 5.

7. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 9.4 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6.2 percent for the week. Among the 2,175 deaths reported for the week, 926 had COVID-19 and 70 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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