Flu cases rising across DC region

Flu and COVID-19 cases are rising around the country and across the D.C. region - causing concern among local and national leaders.

FOX 5’s Maureen Umeh says health officials reported last week that 7.5-percent of all outpatient medical visits were due to flu like illnesses.

That number is as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since.

In Virginia, there were more than 2,500 flu cases reported last week with pediatric cases making up the majority of those cases. One pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season.

In Maryland, there have been five adult deaths reported so far this flu season

The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t get going until December or January, but health officials say this one started early and has been complicated by the simultaneous spread of other viruses like RSV which is a common cause of cold-like symptoms that can be serious for infants and the elderly.

Health officials say the dominant flu strain so far is the kind typically associated with higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths, particularly in people 65 and older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been at least 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from flu so far this season. Those deaths include at least 14 children.

Flu shots are recommended for nearly all Americans who are at least 6 months old or older