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Minnesota has recorded its first influenza deaths of the season.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said in its most recent weekly update that two people have died: one person in the 18-49 age group, and another in the 60-79 age range. 

MDH also said there have been six hospitalizations, two outbreaks in long-term care and already 25 outbreaks in schools. 

Health officials have expressed concern about a potentially devastating flu season this winter, in part because so few people got the flu last year. In the 2020-21 season, the state saw just 35 hospitalizations (down from more than 4,000 the year prior) and seven deaths (compared to 197 the year prior). 

That season's first flu death wasn't reported until early January, and Minnesota also recorded zero pediatric flu deaths. 

Because of the lack of exposure, it could mean some individuals' immune systems won't be quite as prepared to fight the disease if they get it, health officials have said. They have been urging people to be vigilant about getting flu shots this year. 

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