Flu-related hospitalizations rise in Ohio; U.S. sees ‘significantly earlier flu season’



Hospitalizations doubled in Butler County.

Flu-related hospitalizations in Ohio reached 1,424 for the week of Nov. 27 through Dec. 3, which was an increase of 263% over the previous week.

The most recent data shows Ohio as one of 46 states with high activity.

“CDC estimates that since Oct. 1, there have already been at least 8.7 million illnesses; 78,000 hospitalizations; and 4,500 deaths from flu,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a recent telebriefing. She said flu hospital admissions reported in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ hospital surveillance system were high for this time of year and were also “demonstrating the significantly earlier flu season” the U.S. is currently experiencing.

Outpatient visits are seeing a slight decline in the state. Flu-like illnesses are approximately 9.8% of outpatient visits in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health, which is a 6% decrease from the previous week.

Montgomery County is still leading the state of Ohio with a total of 474 flu-related hospitalizations, but other metropolitan areas are also seeing increases, including a total of 333 hospitalizations in Cuyahoga County and 246 in Hamilton County.

Dan Suffoletto, public information manager for Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County, said the number of hospitalizations last week did decrease, but they were still elevated for this time of year. It is still not too late to get vaccinated against the flu, he said.

“Make sure you stay home when you’re sick,” Suffoletto said. “Test yourself for COVID as well.”

While Montgomery County has had the most hospitalizations, the rate of hospitalizations in Clark County exceeds other area counties. Clark County has had 145 flu-related hospitalizations, which is a rate of 106.62 hospitalizations per 100,000 individuals. Montgomery County’s rate is 88.22 hospitalizations per 100,000 individuals.

Butler County’s flu-related hospitalizations more than doubled in a week, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Butler County increased to 118 hospitalizations during the week of Nov. 23 through Dec. 3 when the county was previously at a total of 58 hospitalizations the week of Nov. 20 through Nov. 26. Warren County has had 55 hospitalizations.

The Ohio Department of Health and CDC recommend everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. You can use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm. When you use a tissue, be sure to throw it away after you use it.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Avoid being around others when you are sick.

Antiviral medications are also available for individuals who get sick with the flu and are helpful when started within two days from the onset of influenza. You will need a prescription to get antiviral medicines, so contact your health care provider right away if you think you have the flu. You can read more about influenza at www.cdc.gov/flu.

About the Author