Data: Exponential rise in flu in New York

Weekly data from the state Health Department show there is an exponential increase in influenza cases in New York over the month of November.

The state’s flu tracker shows more than 44,000 cases of flu reported in the week ending on Dec. 3, compared to about 2,800 in that same week last year.

To date, Albany County has had 1,256 cases reported, compared with 782 cases reported at this point last year in the county.

Kristen Hawes, a mom in Ballston Spa, told NewsChannel 13 she knew it was only a matter of time before the flu would make the rounds in her home.

Her newborn son was already hospitalized with RSV this fall. She and her husband each took care of one child—doing everything to prevent their baby from getting sick with influenza this time around.

“When each of us were sick, we didn’t go near the baby, which is difficult to not hold your newborn,” she said.

Data from the New York State Department of Health show flu cases are up 64% last week compared to the previous week of data available.

In Albany County, there are about 200 people sick with flu out of every 100,000 people.

In Saratoga County, it’s almost 250 people out of every hundred thousand.

Dr. William Kowal, CMO of St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical associates, has been treating a lot of Influenza A in the Capital Region. Type A flu accounts for more than 41,000 cases right now.

“This year with influenza it’s much worse. So, many more cases this year than last year. We are still seeing covid cases, a little bit less in recent weeks. But last year was dominated by covid, but this year in recent weeks I would say it’s dominated by influenza,” he said.

Dr. Kowal says we’re seeing a spike because it’s the first year many people are living life normally since the pandemic, with no masking or staying home.

“We aren’t masking all the time, we aren’t socially distant like we were during the early stages of the covid pandemic, we’re interacting more in gatherings, and I think all of that is contributing to more influenza spread than in prior years,” he said.

Dr. Kowal believes people like Hawes and her family may have gotten even sicker had they not been vaccinated. He says it is not too late in the season to get your flu shot.