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WATERTOWN — Amid growing concern over the novel coronavirus, influenza has been running rampant throughout the state, and Jefferson County is no exception.

Since the beginning of this flu season, the state has seen 17,231 cases of the flu so far, according to the state’s Department of Health. This same time last year, the state saw 7,066 cases and 15,740 cases the season before.

In Jefferson County, there have been 437 cases since the first of February, according to Faith Lustik, county health planner. On Wednesday alone, the county saw 32 new cases of the flu. With the peak of the season still on the horizon, Ms. Lustik expects these numbers to climb.

“It is higher than I think maybe in any year and it’s really just going to get higher,” Ms. Lustik said. “We haven’t reached peak yet which will probably be the end of the month or early March.”

Earlier in the season Influenza B was the more prevalent strain of the flu, but since then strains A and B have become equally prevalent.

According to Ms. Lustik, once someone has had one strain of the flu, they can easily get the other due to how quickly both strains are circulating. Her advice to those worried about catching either strain is to practice health habits like proper hand washing, staying away from those who seem sick, and staying home if you feel ill.

While the health department would prefer people get their flu shots in the fall, Ms. Lustik said it is never too late to get one to protect themselves.

For up-to-date flu numbers in Jefferson County and the state, visit https://nyshc.health.ny.gov/web/nyapd/new-york-state-flu-tracker.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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