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High number of flu cases in the Lehigh Valley for the first week of 2019
Morning Call - 1/9/2019
Jan. 09--The first week of the year proved a bad one for the flu in Pennsylvania, and particularly the Lehigh Valley and surrounding counties.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health's influenza report for the week ending Jan. 5 recorded high flu activity of "widespread" nature and surpassing the "epidemic threshold" for the region.
Translation: There were outbreaks of influenza and more lab-confirmed flu cases in at least half of the regions of the state, with the hardest hit in the Northeast and Southeast.
The statistic surpassing the "epidemic threshold" is the percentage of outpatient visits associated with the flu or flu-like illnesses.
The state doesn't provide that figure, but here's what it does say has been recorded since the beginning of flu season in October:
* 9,268 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, from 66 of 67 counties
* 10 adult flu-associated deaths
* 1 death between the ages of 19 and 49, the rest 50 years or older
* No child flu-associated deaths
Peak flu season tends to strike around January or later, according to the Health Department. There are still four or five months to go before this season can be weighed against last year's, during which a record 256 people died in Pennsylvania.
Last season, more than 121,300 flu cases were reported to the Health Department, which was 50,000 more than the previous flu season.
Here's a breakdown of this season's reported cases in local counties since October 2018, in order of severity:
* Luzerne: 360 per 100,000 people (1,158 total cases)
* Lehigh: 280 per 100,000 people (602 total cases)
* Northampton: 197 per 100,000 people (587 total cases)
* Lackawanna: 190 per 100,000 people (409 total cases)
* Monroe: 157 per 100,000 people (268 total cases)
* Schuylkill: 120 per 100,000 people (179 total cases)
* Berks: 108 cases per 100,000 people (448 total cases)
* Montgomery: 55 per 100,000 people (441 total cases)
* Bucks: 49 cases per 100,000 people (308 total cases)
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