LEWISTOWN - Though Pennsylvania has been experiencing the most severe flu conditions since the 2009/2010 season, recent data from the Department of Health indicates a steady decline in confirmed flu cases across the state.
According to the Department of Health's most recent weekly flu report, 1, 275 flu cases were reported from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9, compared to the 2,736 cases reported during the previous week. That means more than a 50 percent decrease in flu reports over a 14 day period.
Lewistown Hospital has also seen a similar decrease in local flu activity, said Chris Robb, technical section head of the Microbiology Department. While daily flu activity can vary greatly, generally, from week to week, the number of confirmed cases is steadily declining, he said.
From Jan. 28 through Feb. 2, the lab confirmed 36 cases of flu and from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9, the lab confirmed 27 cases. The numbers continue to decline as the lab confirmed only 13 cases of flu since Feb. 10, Robb said.
"Our flu season peaked around Jan. 17, resulting in roughly 40 flu tests a day requested from local doctors and the hospital ER," Robb said. "Since less and less people are turning up with flu like symptoms, the number of requested tests have decreased to 15 or 20 per day."
The lab reports its numbers directly to the Department of Health which are then reflected in the weekly report numbers, Robb said. Since the flu season began, Mifflin County has had 229 flu cases and Juniata County has had 106, according to the Department of Health.
Though it may look like the flu season is coming to a close, Lewistown Hospital officials are still asking people with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose to refrain from visiting patients, said Lisa Krapps, manger of infection control at Lewistown Hospital. Additionally, all patients with flu-like symptoms coming to the emergency room or other outpatient areas should wear a mask while at the hospital.
"We are going week by week to determine when to remove the restrictions," Krapps said. "The public will be alerted when any changes are made."