Updated:
Original:

Flu hospitalizes 144 Minnesotans in a week; hospitals tighten policies

Author:

The flu is sending more Minnesotans to hospitals as patients. And some hospitals are asking those exposed to the virus to stay away if they're only visitors.

The Minnesota Department of Health says there were 144 flu-related hospitalizations in the week ending Jan. 4. That more than doubles the 71 new hospitalizations they reported the previous week, when officials first categorized this year's edition of the flu as widespread.

Due to funding cutbacks, the Health Department is not tracking the number of flu-related adult fatalities this winter. The department reports no deaths among juveniles so far this season. Their weekly report includes tables showing the breakdown of hospitalizations by region (nearly two-thirds are in the Twin Cities area) and by age (the median age is 52).

People who have had the flu or who have had close contact with someone who has suffered from it are being asked to avoid making hospital visits. KARE reports the Fairview Health System took the step Thursday.

The change in visitor policies is an effort to reduce patient and employee exposure to influenza. The temporary policies will last for the duration of the flu season. Hospitals impacted by the policy are Fairview Ridges in Burnsville, Fairview Southdale in Edina, Fairview Northland in Princeton, Fairview Lakes in Wyoming, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis and Fairview Range in Hibbing.

NBC reported that influenza activity is widespread in 25 states and regional in 20 more. One hard-hit state is Michigan, where more than a dozen adults and children infected with flu are on life support. Most have the H1N1 strain. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu each season. It kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people a year.

Meanwhile, Health Day reports a shortage of the liquid form of Tamiflu, designed for children too young to swallow capsules. The drug's maker, Genentech, has fallen behind in production, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The shortage doesn't include the capsule form of Tamiflu, which remains in good supply.

Flu vaccines are widely available and unaffected by shortages. The CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone older than 6 months to ward off the flu.

Next Up

kirsten mitchell screegrab

'I’m heading home!': CA reporter announces return to WCCO

Kirsten Mitchell interned at WCCO years ago. Now, she's coming back as a reporter.

eggs

As part of price gouging settlement, farm to donate 1M eggs to food nonprofits

The egg producer will donate more than 1 million eggs to nonprofits fighting hunger.

plane, Piper PA-32

Sheriff: Witnesses saw plane 'performing aerial maneuvers' before fatal crash

The single-engine aircraft went down in northern Wisconsin, killing a brother and sister.

Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.51.02 AM

Community rallies around Minnetonka HS dancer battling brain tumor

A fundraiser raised more than $44,000 of its $60,000 goal in the first two days.

twin city gardens

In rare move, MDH takes control of Minneapolis nursing home

The temporary receivership is to ensure resident safety.

Sen Mark Koran crop

Lawmaker deletes post encouraging donations to family charged in Capitol riot

Sen. Mark Koran, in his Facebook post, described them as "a good family!"

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 11.04.26 AM

Mother charged with beating daughter to death ruled incompetent

The case against the Woodbury woman will be put "indeterminately suspended."

msp airport

Employers at MSP Airport seeking to hire 700-plus workers

Employers include restaurants, retail, hotel, airlines and security.

Screen Shot 2021-10-23 at 9.38.43 PM

Driver who died in Hwy. 100 embankment rollover is identified

The 30-year-old was killed in the Saturday evening crash.

Related