Flu cases down across Capital Region in ‘significant’ flu season

Flu cases are down dramatically in the Capital Region compared to mid-December, according to data released Friday by New York state. However, the season is not over yet, said a local doctor.

The Capital Region was seeing between 400 and 500 cases per week across several counties, in mid-December. In the most recent week of data, the case count is down to double digits – in Albany County, 23 cases; in Rensselaer County, there are just 14 reported cases.

An official at St. Peter’s Health Partners Associates said Influenza A continues to be the strain they see in most patients.

CMO Dr. William Kowal said that while many people may be getting the flu despite being vaccinated, people are not flooding the hospital with cases. Typically, he said, patients are only needing assistance from a primary care doctor.

The elevated level of sickness is also driving a children’s medication shortage, which Dr. Kowal says is easing, but is by no means over for parents still finding empty shelves in the Capital Region.

Dr. Kowal said flu season is improving, but that we are not out of the woods yet — and this is one of the more ‘significant’ flu seasons we’ve seen.

“Flu season has improved compared to December when it hit its peak. So in the last couple weeks, there’s been a decline in flu cases not only across New York state, but also locally in our practices. It seems since these cases are decreasing week over week, it may continue to decline into next month, but again, flu season can extend into the spring, so we could see a resurgence at any time,” Dr. Kowal said.

It’s not too late to get your flu shot, as flu season officially runs until April or May, he said.