HEALTH

Flu cases are on the rise in Salt Lake County, health officials say

Dec 19, 2022, 7:13 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2022, 7:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As you’re preparing for your holiday gatherings this week one thing to keep in mind – flu cases are on the rise in many areas of Utah, including Salt Lake County.

“It’s spreading along with RSV and COVID, so you really do need to be cautious right now,” said Ryan Chatelain, Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist.

New case numbers released Monday from the Salt Lake County Health Department paint a concerning picture of the flu.

A total of 217 influenza-related hospitalizations were reported so far this season, with 60 cases reported from Dec. 4-10, which is 28% of all cases.

At this point in the 2021-2022 season, the health department reported six influenza-related hospitalizations, with two happening around the same week. And in the 2020-2021 season, they reported three total influenza-related hospitalizations.

The Salt Lake County Health Department also keeps track of “Influenza-Like-Illness” and the percentage of hospital outpatient visits with influenza-like symptoms, but not lab tests.

According to the health department, on Dec. 4-10, 4.35% of all visits were for influenza-like illness. Around the same week in the 2021-2022 season, 2.41% of all visits were for influenza-like illnesses, while in the 2020-2021 season, only 0.96% were for influenza-like illnesses.

“This is a bit of a strange flu season. We’ve had a lot more cases a lot earlier in the year than we would normally see,” Chatelain said. “So often we’ll see flu cases spike in January and February, and this year we’re seeing much higher rates earlier in the season.

According to the Utah Department of Health’s Utah Flu report for the week of Dec 4-10, Utah had 2,908 confirmed flu cases, with 450 hospitalizations. Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and Utah Counties had the most lab-confirmed cases of Influenza A.

The state’s epidemiologists telling KSL TV the statewide confirmed case count is significantly underestimated because people don’t constantly get tested for the flu – and typically only seek out medical attention when symptoms are severe.

On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health will release its new flu number for December, watch for an update on the KSLTV website.

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Flu cases are on the rise in Salt Lake County, health officials say