OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A total of 286 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been reported this season since Oct. 1. Exactly half of this number of positive flu cases were reported last week, per the Douglas County Health Department.
While the number of confirmed influenza cases is drastically lower than that of COVID-19 confirmed positive cases — Douglas County is currently averaging 271 positive COVID cases per day — there have not been any reports of deaths attributed to influenza yet this season.
However, adult deaths attributed to flu are not reportable by law and therefore may be under-reported as a result.
As the increase in COVID tests has steadily risen over the last few weeks, so have the number of positive tests. But the number of hospital admissions with influenza-like illnesses has risen alongside these cases, as it is difficult to distinguish between COVID and influenza based solely on symptoms.
An influenza-like illness is defined as a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above as well as a cough and sore throat, per the Douglas County Health Department.
The vast majority of the influenza cases in Douglas County have been recorded as Influenza Type A, of which 66.4% of the cases have been in the 5 to 24 age range. However, the greatest hospitalizations for influenza-like symptoms have occurred in the 0 to 4 age range.
Prior to the month of December, Douglas County had only 30 total reports of influenza.