The influenza outbreak of 2012-13 has now killed 60 Minnesotans and hospitalized 1,842, according to information released today by the Minnesota Department of Health.
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The department’s second weekly report on the flu outbreak more than doubles the number of reported deaths in the state; which totaled 27 last week.
The total number of deaths is now nearly as high as that of the swine flu outbreak of 2009-10, which killed 67 Minnesotans. The number of flu-related hospitalizations actually exceeds the total of 2009-10.
According to a Fox 9 news report, 88 percent of the deaths were patients age 65 or older, making up 53 of the 60 fatal cases this season. There were no deaths in the past week involving patients younger than 24.
The department’s latest report also showed that flu has struck a total of 107 skilled nursing facilities in the state, as well as 254 schools.
While Minneapolis Public Schools officials did not return requests for comment on how local schools were trying to stave off local flu outbreaks among their students, Armatage Montessori has posted the following tips for parents:
- Hand-washing and covering your cough are two of the most effective ways to avoid spreading illness. The best hand-washing technique involves washing long enough to sing the happy birthday song twice. Please don’t be shy about helping others remember to wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs and sneezes.
- If your child is sick, please keep them home to avoid spreading illness to others. The official district policy is that your child must be fever-free (without fever relieving medication) and vomit-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
- If your child has a diagnosis such as strep throat, pinkeye, lice, influenza or pertussis, please inform the health office. We report incidence of these illnesses to the Minnesota Department of Health, so your cooperation is appreciated.