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Flu Hospitalizations on the Rise at Monument Health

Jan 03, 2022 01:27PM ● By Med Magazine

Monument Health has seen a 54 percent increase in influenza hospitalizations so far this flu season. Meanwhile, the number of statewide flu cases continues to outpace past years.

Since the start of the flu season, 37 flu patients have been hospitalized. That compares with 17 hospitalized flu patients at Monument Health during the same period in the 2019-20 flu season. That season went on to become one of the worst flu seasons in recent South Dakota history. Between early October 2019 and May 2020, the South Dakota Department of Health reported 14,776 confirmed cases, 547 hospitalizations and 33 deaths in the state. 

“It could be that the flu season is peaking early this year, but there’s a strong chance we’re seeing the start of a big increase in cases,” said Ty White, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Monument Health. Historically, South Dakota’s peak influenza month is February.

This year’s statewide numbers confirm the early rise in flu cases. (See chart below.) As of Dec. 25, the state Department of Health reported 1,931 confirmed cases and 2 deaths. 

It’s not too late to get a flu shot, according to a recent Mayo Clinic article. This year's annual flu shot will offer protection against four of the influenza viruses expected to be in circulation this flu season. Patients can get a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination during the same clinic or pharmacy visit. 

“Getting an influenza vaccine — though not 100% effective — is the best way to prevent the misery of the flu and its complications,” the Mayo Clinic article noted. 

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