Flu cases remain unusually low, CT public health officials say

Photo of Amanda Cuda
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Enbal Sabag, a Nurse Practitioner, wears personal protection equipment as she administers a flu vaccination to Noel Janzen at the CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 03, 2020 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Flu shots are available at the nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacies and approximately 100 MinuteClinic locations across the country. Heath experts say getting the flu shot this year is important because the dangers of having COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously are still unknown. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Enbal Sabag, a Nurse Practitioner, wears personal protection equipment as she administers a flu vaccination to Noel Janzen at the CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 03, 2020 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Flu shots are available at the nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacies and approximately 100 MinuteClinic locations across the country. Heath experts say getting the flu shot this year is important because the dangers of having COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously are still unknown. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

For the third week in a row, no one in Connecticut was hospitalized for the flu while cases of the illness remain unusually low this season.

In its latest flu data update, the state Department of Public Health reports that, as of Feb. 13, a total of 58 people had tested positive for flu in Connecticut — an increase of five from the previous week. No new flu-associated deaths between Feb. 7 and Feb. 13 were reported, and only one such death has been reported this season.

The last time the state posted any new flu-related hospitalizations was the week of Jan. 17 to 23, when one person was hospitalized because of flu.

A total of 13 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported so far this season.

Flu activity in Connecticut has been unusually low this year. By comparison, as of Feb. 8 last year, a total of 40 flu-related deaths had been reported with 1,705 hospitalizations and 7,991 people had tested positive for flu.

Earlier in the season, experts said the low flu numbers were likely attributable to the measures people are taking to protect against COVID-19, including hand-washing and mask-wearing. The measures can also protect against other respiratory illnesses, including the flu.

For the past several weeks, flu activity in the state has been classified as sporadic, meaning that a small number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases or a single laboratory-confirmed outbreak has been reported, but no increase in cases of influenza-like illness.

Connecticut isn’t the only state having a less-than-robust flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that nationwide, flu activity “remains lower than usual for this time of year.”