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Flu-like illness still 'widespread' in MN as schools are hit hard again

Schools were again hit hard by flu-like illness for the week ending Jan. 18.

Influenza-like illness is holding a firm grip on Minnesota as a "widespread" status has been confirmed again in the latest report from the Department of Health. 

Although the number of people being hospitalized by the flu has decreased since the holidays, it's still a consistent issue statewide. 

For the week ending Jan. 18, there were 187 cases of the flu that resulted in a patient being hospitalized. There were 188 such cases the week prior, and a total of 1,208 since Sept. 29, 2019. 

Six more flu-related deaths were reported between Jan. 12-18, bringing the total number of Minnesota patients to die from influenza this season to 31. That's down from 95 during the 2018-19 flu season and a much deadlier 2017-18 (440 deaths in Minnesota). 

The number of K-12 school outbreaks is also rising again. 

For the week ending Jan. 18, there were 113 schools in Minnesota to report an outbreak of flu-like illness, which is when the number of students absent with flu-like illness reaches 5 percent of total enrollment, or when three or more students are absent from the same elementary classroom. 

There were only 32 reported school outbreaks the previous week, which was the first week back to school after the holiday break for many students.  

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