CLEVELAND- Cuyahoga County health officials say there were three flu-related deaths in the county last week.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said between Dec. 7 and Dec. 13 three senior citizens died from influenza-related causes.
The residents lived in Cleveland, Shaker Heights and Brecksville. The board of health said these are the first deaths in the county this flu season.
Over the past three weeks, there were 309 flu-related hospital admissions in Cuyahoga County. That’s 191 more than the same time last year. The number of emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms is also at a five-year high with 439.
Statewide, the number of flu cases has skyrocketed with nearly a thousand flu-related hospitalizations since October. That includes the death of a 16-year-old Licking County boy.
“Influenza vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu, except for infants younger than 6 month old who aren’t eligible to receive it,” said Dr. Mary DiOrio, medical director of the Ohio Department of Health, in a statement on Friday.
“Many people have probably heard about this year’s flu vaccine not being as effective because of mutations in some influenza viruses,” DiOrio said.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that it’s still very important to get vaccinated. The vaccine provides some protection against mutated viruses and maximum protection against other circulating influenza strains for which the vaccine remains well-matched.”
The Centers for Disease Control said this flu season will likely continue into the spring and be severe.