In light of how widespread the flu is, the agency is offering to waive administrative fees that some patrons pay at its public health clinics.
People who have severe influenza illness or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications such as the very young and very old, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions, should get treated with antiviral medication if they get flu symptoms regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. That ties the highest level seen in the US during swine flu in 2009. Deaths from the current outbreak will likely far outstrip those of the 2009-2010 season.
"Overall hospitalizations are now significantly higher than what we've seen for this time of year since our current tracking system began nearly a decade ago, in 2010", Schuchat said. But there are other B strains also now going around and the vaccine is more effective against these viruses.
"Flu is incredibly hard to predict and we don't know if we've hit the peak yet", Schuchat said in a call with reporters. "It's a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard". Additionally, the CDC does not track deaths caused by the flu for people over the age of 18. According to the latest flu report released on Friday, 167 Hoosiers have died this season.
The national spread of the flu is worse than it's been in years, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials report seeing unusually high levels of hospitalizations in non-elderly adults this flu season, with the rates for 50- to 64-year-olds being significantly higher than they were during the particularly sever 2014-2015 flu season that featured the same strain of illness.
The CDC reports influenza activity in the United States has increased significantly in recent weeks.
Hospitalizations for flu increased to an overall rate of 59.9 per 100,000 population, a jump from the previous week's rate of 51.4 per 100,000 population.
But fighting this outbreak is proving to be more hard.
Public health officials on Friday reported that there were 36 new flu-related deaths in California during the first week of February, making that the deadliest week in what was already a brutal influenza season.
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has issued a flu alert, and the Bennington hospital is restricting visitors to better control the outbreak.