CRH says flu hospitalizations now are highest seen in recent years

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus Regional Health says the flu season “just continues to explode,” with local influenza cases and flu-related hospitalizations reaching their highest levels in recent years.

As of late, there have been between 12 and 15 people hospitalized at CRH due to influenza, including at least one day when 18 people were hospitalized, the hospital said.

“(These are) the highest numbers in flu-related hospitalizations that we’ve seen in recent years,” said CRH spokeswoman Kelsey DeClue.

The rise in flu hospitalizations comes as the U.S. flu season continues to get worse after getting off to an unusually fast start, with federal health officials reporting that flu activity was already high in 45 states including Indiana by the end of last month.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said U.S. hospitalization rate for flu hasn’t been this high this early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

The CDC classified flu activity in Indiana as “very high” during the week ending Nov. 26, the most recent data available Friday morning. State health officials reported 11 flu deaths in Indiana as of the week ending Nov. 26.

The CDC estimated that there had been at least 8.7 million cases of the flu in the United States so far this season, resulting in 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths over the same time period.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.