A second flu death has been reported in Lancaster County amid a big second wave of cases across Pennsylvania.
Statewide, almost 24,000 cases have been confirmed and 14 deaths reported in the past two weeks, according to the latest report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
And the highest one-week case total this year surpasses any other in the past eight seasons, except for 2017-18.
Many more cases aren't reported because most people who get the flu aren't tested, according to the department.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued a reminder that it's not too late to get a flu shot, which is recommended annually for almost everyone age 6 months and older, and that "it is essential to take steps to prevent the spread of illness, such as frequently washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick."
The local tally of confirmed cases stands at 1,443 in Lancaster County, with 363 of those cases in the past week. The department doesn't say where deaths happen, but hospitals in the county have reported two so far, one of them in the past two weeks. Both were in the 65 and older age group.
Statewide there have been 72,460 cases and 47 deaths; 13 of the victims were age 19-64, and 34 age 65 or older.
Nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates the flu has caused 22 million illnesses and 12,000 deaths so far this season.
This season started unusually, with an early wave of type B flu viruses that usually are most prevalent at the end of the season. Now the state report says type A flu viruses are most common.
The surge in flu cases comes at a bad time, as hospitals across the country deal with the first patients from the coronavirus newly named Covid-19, that has killed more than 900 people in China amid massive quarantines.
No Covid-19 deaths have been reported in the U.S., and none of the 13 cases confirmed in the nation so far have been in Pennsylvania. But hundreds of people across the nation are being tested, and the CDC is issuing guidance urging that heath care providers take a cautious approach as the situation develops.
The CDC says the immediate risk of Covid-19 to the American public "is believed to be low at this time," but asks that everyone do their part to respond to the emerging public health threat by taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, like thorough hand-washing and good cold hygiene, and getting the flu shot.
🆕 Flu update! Flu numbers continue to rise across PA. As of February 1, there have been ~60,000 flu cases and 40 deaths statewide. 𝗡𝗢𝗪 is the time get flu vaccine if you haven't already. ℹ️ https://t.co/aYzyo5Lj5p pic.twitter.com/9xt568GnwP— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) February 7, 2020
If you’ve recently returned from China, know the symptoms of #2019nCoV. These include mild to severe respiratory illness with:• Fever• Cough• Shortness of breathLearn more: https://t.co/iHfg8BkvLD pic.twitter.com/p3ezjXwnNI— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) February 11, 2020