Flu cases in Kentucky are on the rise; state has reported three flu deaths, one of them a dual infection of the flu and Covid-19

Kentucky Department for Public Health graph

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Covid-19 cases are on the wane across Kentucky, but influenza cases are on the rise and one person has been reported as dying from a co-infection of both.

The state Department for Public Health reports that in the week ended April 2, Kentucky had 613 new confirmed cases of flu, up from 334 the previous week. The week before that, 303 cases were reported, after a month with fewer than 174 cases per week. The state has recorded 4,478 cases this season and three flu-related adult deaths. One of those was attributed to a dual flu/Covid-19 coinfection.

In December, Brooke Hudspeth, chief practice officer at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, told Kentucky Health News that it is safe to get both the Covid-19 vaccination and the flu shot at the same time, and it’s actually important to get both, since having Covid-19 and the flu at the same time can increase a person’s risk of severe complications.
“There aren’t any complications or any risk when those are given at the same time,” she said.
The health department has considered Kentucky’s flu level “widespread” for four weeks because increases in cases were seen in more than half of the state’s 16 health regions; that was the case with 13 regions in the latest reporting week.

Kentucky is follow a national trend of an increase in flu activity. Most of the increases have been seen in central and south-central regions of the country and they are increasing in the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC says, “An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu. Vaccination can prevent serious outcomes in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.”

The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older as long as flu activity continues. Everyone 5 years of age and older can get a Covid-19 vaccine.
A few counties in the latest flu report have been hit especially hard with the flu, including Floyd, with 124 new cases, and Pike, with 74. Lincoln had 34 and Laurel 22.
Between March 30 and April 5, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported 172 lab-confirmed flu cases, up from 15 in this latest state report. It also reported another flu-related death.
The health department cautions that the number of flu cases could be even higher.

“Please remember that lab-confirmed cases only reflect a small percentage of flu cases actually in Lexington,” says the news release. “Many providers use rapid testing, which is not required to be reported to your state/local health departments.”

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