Flu sends 156 people to Spokane hospitals




Posted on January 21, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 2:07 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--There were 19 deaths reported in Washington State due to pneumonia and the flu and three deaths reported were Spokane County residents. There were 156 flu hospitalizations in Spokane County in the 2013-2014 flu season by the third week of January according to the Spokane Regional Health District.

Of those hospitalizations, about 21 occurred during the time of Jan. 13 to Jan. 21.

"This is one of the worst flu season's we've seen in awhile,” said a health officer for Spokane Regional Health District Joel McCullogh.

The predominant strain of the flu that is circulating Eastern Washington is pH1N1.

During the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 to 2010 in Spokane County, there were 229 total hospitalizations.

"It's definitely concerning that we have this many at this stage in the flu season,” said McCullogh.

The average flu patient hospitalized in Spokane County was between the ages of 50 to 64-years-old during the 2013 to 2014 flu season. Doctors said a flu shot can help immensely.

"It will reduce it from 4 percent to 1 percent. That's 4 times less likely to get flu if you get immunized, so I'd recommend it strongly,” said medical director at the Community Health Association of Spokane William Lockwood.

Lockwood said everyone can get a flu shot at any CHAS clinic in Spokane even if you do not have insurance you can get one for free. No appointments are necessary.

Numbers released from the Spokane Regional Health District show that the most amount of hospitalizations for the flu were in January.