Oswego County Sees Increase in Flu Cases After Holiday Season

Logo from Oswego County Health Department website.

OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department reminds residents that it’s not too late to get their flu shot as lab-confirmed cases of influenza have been on the rise over the last six weeks.

“We are seeing a steady increase in flu cases, especially among young people,” said Oswego County Supervising Public Health Nurse Jennifer Purtell. “It’s not surprising as many children and teens are exposed to more germs than usual this time of year, going from family gatherings over the holiday season to getting back into the classroom now.”

The health department holds influenza and COVID-19 vaccination clinics every Monday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Stereo Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Appointments are required, call 315-349-3547 to schedule.

“Our staff are happy to help families get the protection they need when it comes to influenza and other illnesses,” said Purtell. “Residents can get the COVID-19 vaccine in the same visit as their flu shot. Both vaccines are completely safe to get at the same time.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone older than 6 months should get an annual flu shot as the best protection against influenza. (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm)

Families are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about getting and keeping their child up to date on their vaccinations which are covered by most insurances.

The health department accepts UMR POMCO Select, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Fidelis, United HealthCare Community Plan, United Healthcare Medicare advantage plans, Medicaid and Medicare. People with other insurances may have to pay out of pocket and submit a receipt to their insurer for reimbursement; however, no one is turned away due to the inability to pay.

Oswego County Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Matthew Goodsell is tracking the rise of influenza cases across the county.

“We saw less than 30 positive influenza cases reported in November, but the following month, we had an additional 359 cases,” he said. “That’s a huge jump, with most of those flu cases being children aged 5 to 19 years or seniors aged 50 to 64 years.”

The CDC recommends the following healthy habits to help people stay well:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep your kids home when they are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and wear a mask in public.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.

To view the Oswego County Health Department’s flu dashboard, go to: https://oswegogis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/0199707ae6c0488bb7e69c5d75da5aa6.

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