In the last week of February, Kentucky reported fewer new cases of influenza and fewer deaths from it than it did the week before.
The latest weekly report from the state Department for Public Health shows that in the week ending Feb. 29, Kentucky counted 1,591 new cases, down from 1,943 new cases the previous week. Five flu deaths were reported in the state, down from 14 the previous week and 16 the week before that. During the flu season, the state has reported 22,591 cases of flu and 85 deaths, four of children.
The actual number of cases is higher, because not all flu cases are counted; flu does not have to be reported, and three counties did not contribute to the last report.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that so far this season, at least 34 million people have had the flu, causing 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths. Of those, 136 were children.
Health officials recommend that everyone over 6 months old get an annual flu vaccination. It is not too late, since the season usually runs through May.
Measures to protect yourself from the flu could also provide limited protection from covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, for which there is no vaccine. They are:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; only use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it away.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get a flu shot.
Flu hotspots continue around the state, including Barren County, with 107 new cases, for a total of 1254; Bullitt with 71 new, for a total of 913; Carter with 41, for a total of 235; Fayette with 78, for a total of 591; Floyd with 59, for a total of 307; Franklin with 91, for a total of 548; Greenup with 42, for a total of 338; Hardin with 49, for a total of 366; Jefferson with 278, for a total of 7,764; Knott with 52, for a total of 426; Knox with 37, for a total of 162; Perry with 79, for a total of 1,135; Pike with 84, for a total of 1,195; and Warren with 55, for a total of 816.