Washington DOH reports multiple flu deaths for the first time in two years

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Department of Health announced Wednesday three people in the state died from the flu.

All deaths were people who were 65 or older, and all three tested positive for influenza A.

The DOH said flu activity across Washington has risen to moderate levels. This is the first time in two years that the state has reported multiple flu-related deaths.

The first confirmed flu death was from an adult in Whitman County. The person tested positive for influenza A and negative for COVID-19.

RELATED: Whitman County reports first flu-related death of current season

The DOH reported flu activity in Washington was historically low last year. They said it was because of the precautions many took to avoid COVID-19, like wearing masks and social distancing.

“Hospitalizations across the state remain high due to omicron, and other respiratory viruses like influenza could overload them even more,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, DOH’s Chief Science Officer.

The DOH recommends everyone six months of age and older get their annual flu vaccine. They also advise everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water, cover their coughs and sneezes, and stay home when they are sick.

“Take steps now to get you and your family vaccinated against the flu,” said Kwan-Gett. “Vaccination will help keep you and your family healthy and out of the hospital, especially those with chronic health conditions.”

They warn that flu season can last as late as May, though it typically peaks in December through February. For information on flu prevention, vaccines, and weekly flu activity reports, visit www.KnockOutFlu.org.

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