The flu has claimed two more lives in Delaware this season.
A 51-year-old Kent County woman and a 55-year-old New Castle County woman each died recently due to complications from the influenza virus.
That brings the total number of flu-related deaths in Delaware this season to five. Each victim was infected by influenza A and had underlying health conditions.
During the week of December 23, there were 223 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Delaware and 38 resulting hospitalizations.
“We are seeing an increased number of cases over the past couple weeks,” said Delaware’s Division of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Richard Hong. “We are currently in ‘Widespread Status’ which means we are seeing flu cases pretty much throughout the state.”
The most recent data counts 687 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Delaware so far this season with 118 hospitalizations. That’s more than at the same point during last year’s record-breaking flu season.
But Hong says it’s still too early to know if this will be another big flu season locally, or if this year’s vaccine is matching up with the virus.
“Unfortunately for the flu virus itself, it does mutate,” said Hong. “So, even though the strains might be similar, it may not be a perfect match due to the mutation. So, we’re going to have to see those who have had bad outcomes, whether they have been vaccinated, and from there determine how effective the vaccine is.”
Hong advises all Delawareans who have yet to get a flu shot to do so.
Public Health officials will be administering free flu vaccines in the basement floor Library in Legislative Hall on Jan. 16.