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Low number of flu cases reported in NH thanks to COVID-19 precautions, lack of travel – WMUR Manchester

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Jan 16, 2021

New Hampshire is reporting nearly no flu cases at a time when the virus is usually widespread, and health officials say that’s helping to avoid what could otherwise be a scenario in which hospitals are overwhelmed.>> Download the free WMUR appThere have been two flu-related deaths this season in New Hampshire, but health experts said flu cases overall are historically low.”We have actually had no flu in 2021 in either the inpatient or outpatient setting at CMC,” said Dr. Michael Gilbert, chief medical officer of Catholic Medical Center.Gilbert said the numbers are low because of the precautions being taken against COVID-19 and because people are traveling less.”People are paying much more attention to washing their hands,” he said. “We have been social distancing, and masks decrease transmission of the flu, as well.”Doctors said that even though the numbers are low, that could change in the coming weeks, so getting vaccinated is important.”Even though we are saying that the mitigation strategies are helping, it is still very important to think about being vaccinated every season,” said Dr. Jose Mercado, an epidemiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.Mercado said people need to continue to take measures to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 and the flu.”You just have to think about your bubble and your exposures,” he said. “You don’t want to risk that and expose yourself outside of your bubble.”Mercado said he believes people should consider implementing the steps they took this year every year.”Maybe with each flu season, we should think about wearing our masks,” he said. “I think the hand hygiene should be constant, and then travel, because that tends to drive the spread of infection.”

New Hampshire is reporting nearly no flu cases at a time when the virus is usually widespread, and health officials say that’s helping to avoid what could otherwise be a scenario in which hospitals are overwhelmed.

>> Download the free WMUR app

There have been two flu-related deaths this season in New Hampshire, but health experts said flu cases overall are historically low.

“We have actually had no flu in 2021 in either the inpatient or outpatient setting at CMC,” said Dr. Michael Gilbert, chief medical officer of Catholic Medical Center.

Gilbert said the numbers are low because of the precautions being taken against COVID-19 and because people are traveling less.

“People are paying much more attention to washing their hands,” he said. “We have been social distancing, and masks decrease transmission of the flu, as well.”

Doctors said that even though the numbers are low, that could change in the coming weeks, so getting vaccinated is important.

“Even though we are saying that the mitigation strategies are helping, it is still very important to think about being vaccinated every season,” said Dr. Jose Mercado, an epidemiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Mercado said people need to continue to take measures to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 and the flu.

“You just have to think about your bubble and your exposures,” he said. “You don’t want to risk that and expose yourself outside of your bubble.”

Mercado said he believes people should consider implementing the steps they took this year every year.

“Maybe with each flu season, we should think about wearing our masks,” he said. “I think the hand hygiene should be constant, and then travel, because that tends to drive the spread of infection.”

 

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