COLORADO, USA — Colorado flu-related hospitalizations decreased by about 97% compared to this time last year, data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says.
This year the state has only reported 12 flu-related hospitalizations, compared to 471 this time last year, the CDPHE data says.
ADDRESSING THE LOW NUMBERS
Amy Duckro, an infectious disease doctor with Kaiser Permanente, said several factors could contribute to the decline in hospitalizations this year, with the pandemic and its restrictions being on the list but she said it would be a challenge to point at one specific reason.
“This year may be different because people are practicing different preventions like distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing masks and hopefully hand hygiene,” she said. “It's hard to say at this point if that's related or not because we do know that COVID cases are still very much a problem.”
2020 FLU VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS
Duckro said she couldn’t say yet whether the vaccination was a good match to the strain circulating throughout the states this year.
“I haven’t heard a lot about the match of what we have for our flu vaccine with what’s circulating because we have had such little flu activity,” she said.
FLU SHOT RECOMMENDATION
With the number of flu-like hospitalizations being significantly low, Duckro said everyone should get their flu shot if they have not already.
"Our hospitals are really full and we want to be careful that we're not burdening our health care system more so than we already are with the current COVID pandemic,” she said.
Though the numbers are low now, last year the flu did not peak in Colorado until the first week in February, so this year's data still has time to change.
"It's hard to say what will be coming for February," Duckro said. "It could become very much a problem which is why we really encourage every single Coloradan to get your flu shot now."
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