As COVID-19 ramps up, Minnesota's flu season appears to be slackening

Hospitalizations fell for the fourth week in a row.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Cold flu

As health providers brace for growing numbers of coronavirus patients, it appears as though Minnesota's flu season is winding down.

The number of flu-related hospitalizations fell for the fourth week in a row in Minnesota, with 72 hospitalized in the week ending Mar. 21, a significant drop on the 185 hospitalized the week before.

At its peak in late February, more than 450 people were hospitalized with the flu in a single week.

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 1.38.43 PM

Though hospitalized-confirmed cases of flu has been dropping, it's possible that the figures have also fallen because more people are treating their symptoms at home in case they've gotten coronavirus. 

The Minnesota Department for Health says it's also received reports that there may be a shortage of resources for flu testing.

"We have seen a dramatic drop in influenza activity recently, but it’s impossible to know how much of this is related to a decrease in testing versus a decrease in influenza disease," a spokeswoman for MDH said.

"The measures being taken by Minnesotans to prevent the spread of COVID are also very effective methods of decreasing the spread of influenza, but we have also heard that resources for some flu testing are becoming scarce."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

In total, there have been almost 4,000 flu-related hospitalizations so far this season, but there have been fewer deaths than in three of the past six years.

There have been 135 flu-related deaths this flu season in Minnesota, three of which were children. Just 95 died last year from the flu, but 440 died in the worst recent flu season, in 2017-18.

The reducing impact of influenza will help lessen some of the strain on the state's hospital system which is expecting a major impact from the coronavirus.

Minnesota health officials have previously said that researchers will be using flu trends to determine how widespread the coronavirus is in Minnesota.

If confirmed cases of influenza are going down but respiratory complaints to medical providers are going up, it's suggestive that COVID-19 is more widespread than official figures suggest.

Next Up

Cam Talbot

Wild improve to 4-1 with victory over Dubnyk, Sharks

The 4-1 win gives the Wild four victories in five games to start the season.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice, Allina Health CEO found dead in Iowa

The 21-year-old was found dead in the parking lot of a sorority, according to police.

Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 8.42.40 PM

Federal charges: MN marijuana lobbyist threatened U.S. representative

"I want you to be as scared as possible," the voicemail allegedly says.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Wisconsin Republicans aim to end governor's mask mandate

They've introduced a resolution to remove the governor's emergency powers.

Ted Schweich

Community group hopes to install billboard to get neighbor a kidney

A group called "Team Ted" aims to raise $5,000 to find their friend a kidney donor.

Andrew Palmer

Charges: Coach raped teenage girl on Minnesota basketball team

The 33-year-old head coach has been charged in connection to the alleged crimes.

radio station, microphone

WCCO Radio's program director leaves the company

It's not clear why John Hanson and the station parted ways.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis a step closer to banning facial recognition technology

There are concerns about it leading to a surveillance state, and that it could harm disadvantaged communities.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 22

Nearly 50,000 Minnesotans have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Related

President Donald Trump

MDH reacts to President Trump comparing COVID-19 to seasonal flu

COVID-19 is on track to be the third leading cause of death in Minnesota in 2020.

flu shot, vaccine

Flu season has begun in Minnesota

It's unclear how precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will impact flu season this year.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, flu still 'widespread' in Minnesota

MN's flu season is going strong, with 110 deaths reported so far.

Bar beer

MDH to ramp up enforcement of bars violating COVID-19 protocols

The state received over a hundred complaints this week.

vaccine, shot

Walz reveals rollout plans for COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota

Those most susceptible to the virus will be first in line, along with those who care for them.