UPDATE: Flu Deaths in Minnesota Now Total 112
Department of Health says there were an additional 36 deaths last week, but that number of people hospitalized with flu-like symptoms much lower than previous week.
Influenza killed 36 more Minnesotans last week, bringing the total number of state deaths in the current outbreak to 112.
But the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) weekly flu update, released this afternoon, also reported that the number of people across the state newly hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza dropped to 135, down from 208 the previous week and a big drop from the 476 hospitalized the week before.
A total of 2,367 Minnesotans have have been hospitalized since the current outbreak began.
According to a Minneapolis Public Radio report, officials now believe it's safe to say the outbreak is waning.
Kris Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at MDH, said it's unlikely the state could see a second peak in influenza activity, as it did during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.
"That is very unusual, so we're hoping that because we're seeing a slowdown in activity (now), that means that the activity will remain slow now until the end of the season."
Across the state, eight long-term care facilities and 36 schools reported outbreaks of influenza during the Jan. 20-26 period. Since the start of the season, there have been 134 outbreaks of influenza in long-term care facilities and 412 outbreaks in schools.