US flu hospitalizations continue to rise: CDC report

Flu activity varies across the nation, with New Mexico reporting the highest test positivity levels. Flu hospitalizations also rose for the 12th week straight, according to the CDC's latest FluView report. 

Nine CDC updates: 

1. Of all specimens tested in a clinical lab, 7.8 percent were positive for the flu for the week ending April 23, down slightly from 8.9 percent the week prior.

 2. For the week ending April 23, 3,452 lab-confirmed flu patients were hospitalized, up from 3,243 the week before. The cumulative hospitalization rate was 11.1 per 100,000, up from 9.8 a week earlier. This marks the 12th consecutive week flu-related hospitalizations reported to HHS have increased. 

3. New Mexico reported very high flu activity, up from the "high" activity it previously reported for several consecutive weeks. Colorado and Puerto Rico reported high flu activity. Massachusetts reported moderate activity. Eight states — New York, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey — and New York City reported low flu activity. Remaining states reported minimal activity. The District of Columbia reported insufficient data. 

4. One pediatric flu death was reported for the week ending April 23, bringing the cumulative pediatric flu-related deaths this season to 23. 

5. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for respiratory illness was 2.1 percent for the week ending April 23, the same as the previous week. This is below the national baseline of 2.5 percent. 

6. Nationwide, 0.8 percent of long-term care facilities reported more than one flu-positive test among residents, down from 1 percent a week earlier.  

7. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 6.8 percent, which meets the epidemic threshold for the week ending April 23. Among 1,293 deaths reported for the week, 434 had COVID-19 listed as an underlying or contributing cause, while 33 deaths listed the same for flu. 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 there have been at least 5.3 million flu illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations and 3,200 flu-related deaths so far this season. 

9. The nation's first human case of H5 bird flu was also reported this week.

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