CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) "Very, very active.”
The St. Peter's Urgent Care in Clifton Park has been slammed, testing patients for the flu on the spot. Dr. Balasukanya Balaraman says she’s been seeing 12-15 positive tests per day.
“We're seeing a lot more than we've ever seen,” Balaraman said.
For the second week in a row NYS Dept. of Health Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Brad Hutton says they've seen record numbers of influenza. The highest numbers of flu related hospitalizations and lab confirmed cases in a single week's time since the department started record keeping 14 years ago.
“There was a 47 percent increase in cases this week and a 5 percent increase in hospitalizations, so we're continuing to trend upward, which is concerning,” Hutton said.
Because of the severity of this year's flu season, Governor Andrew Cuomo D-New York issued an executive order Thursday to make the flu shot more accessible by allowing pharmacists to administer the flu shot to children between the ages of 2 and 18.
“It’s been done previously, it was done in the 2012-2013 season, so we've done it in the past to assist with concerning flu seasons,” Hutton said.
Assemblyman John McDonald D-Cohoes owns Marra’s Pharmacy in Cohoes. He says not all pharmacies are ready to administer the shot right now. He's urging parents to call ahead.
“Most pharmacists, if they can, they will administer the shot, and if they can't they'll refer you to someone else,” McDonald said.
Hutton says there's no shortage of antivirals like Tamiflu in New York right now. Physicians are urging anyone feeling the onset of the flu to take antivirals within 40 hours.
“The earlier the better,” Balaraman said
Another flu fact you should know, if you've already had the flu this season, you can get it again because there are three different strains going around.
The most prominent flu strain this year H3N2 is especially harmful to elderly patients.