CLEVELAND (WJW) -- This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst for Northeast Ohio.
"In the first seven weeks of 2020, we’ve had 14 flu-related deaths,” said Richard Stacklin, with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
According to Stacklin, five deaths were reported this past week.
“We’ve had more than 1,100 people hospitalized for flu and 2,000 people going to the emergency department for flu-like symptoms,” added Stacklin.
The health department says last year, the number of flu-related deaths didn’t hit 14 until mid-April.
“This year, we’ve seen B strain dominant at the beginning earlier in December. Now the A strain is dominant so that’s increased the length of the severity,” said Stacklin.
“ I can categorically say in December and January, we’ve had highest flu patients total that we’ve had in the past two years, which says a lot,” said Dr. Purva Grover, Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s pediatric emergency department.
Dr. Grover says this flu season has been the most dangerous to children in recent years, and it shows little signs of slowing down.
“There are still different strains of flu coming up. Which means the flu is still as contagious as it was when we started seeing it in early December,” said Dr. Grover.
Multiple school districts across Northeast Ohio have had to close due to student and staff illness.