COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Center For Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly flu report is out and this year, Colorado seems to be getting hit especially hard.
As soon as you walk into the El Paso County Health Department, you’re greeted with tissues, hand sanitizer, and face masks.
It’s because they want to prevent people from becoming a flu statistic. The CDC reports 84,000 Americans have been hospitalized in three months.
Haley Zachary, a disease expert in El Paso County, says those numbers definitely show we’re in the middle of the flu season.
Despite that, the number still seems a little high, though. Of that 84,000, 1,200 hospitalizations are right in here Colorado. We asked Zachary to explain what a hospitalization entails.
“People who go to the ER for influenza and are tested there will not be counted towards the influenza numbers unless they are admitted into to the hospital and are required to stay there,” Zachary said.
But some people with the flu don’t go to the hospital at all. So, how do those flu cases get counted?
“Those numbers are tracked by the CDC in certain areas of the nation but not here locally,” Zachary said.
Meaning there could, in fact, be more cases of the flu, but the health department doesn’t know about them.
Zachary says the flu in El Paso County isn’t as bad as it was last year and they believe it’s because the H1N1 strain and the vaccine are a match.