INDIANAPOLIS — Flu numbers in Indiana are still running well below recent years, historically low for this part of the year based on recent flu seasons.
For the week ending Jan. 2, Indiana rated its flu impact as "minimal" again, reporting 471 instances of "influenza-like illness" during the 14th week of flu surveillance in the state.
To date, the state has recorded 8,406 reports of influenza-like illness and three deaths attributable to flu.
Weekly flu numbers are still running well below previous years as flu activity usually ticks up during late December and rises throughout January and the early new year.
Outpatient providers reported only about 1.1% of visits were were influenza-like illness on the week, which is low compared to numbers that have fallen between about 3-7% in the last previous four years.
Flu reports at urgent care centers and emergency rooms did tick up very slightly to 1.12% on the week, but that too is lower than historical averages that generally run about 1.5-5% at this time of year.
Flu numbers were comparable during the fall to previous years when the state generally has very little flu activity. But while flu typically picks up at the end of the year and then circulates around the state, that hasn't happened so far this year.
State health officials have noted that interventions being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, social distancing and staying home when one’s ill are also likely to have beneficial impacts in reducing the spread of influenza.
The state has not identified any particular strains of flu through testing at the Indiana State Department of Health lab yet this year, although specimen testing numbers are lower than in previous years as the state has been primarily focused on fighting COVID-19 this season.
Weekly flu surveillance reports from this year and previous years can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at in.gov/isdh/22104.htm.