Confirmed influenza cases in New York have declined by 50%, though state health officials on Monday urged people to remain cautious as the virus remains widespread.
Flu cases have declined from 14,656 to 7,373 cases in the week ending Jan. 14, the fifth consecutive week of decline. Hospitalizations have also dropped by a similar percentage, 52%, to 798 people.
Still, public health officials have warned the flu season this year remains a potent one. Officials have warned of a "tridemic" of the flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
State health officials urged New Yorkers to still get vaccinated for influenza if they have not done so already in order to reduce the chances of a severe illness.
"Seeing fewer people sick with the flu is encouraging. But we are still seeing cases and protecting our children and the most vulnerable remains very important,” Acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “If you are sick with the flu, stay home so you do not spread this illness to others. If they haven’t already done so, New Yorkers should get a flu shot to help protect against getting serious disease from the flu.”
All told, 300,907 flu cases have been reported to date this season in New York. Long-term care and acute-care facilities have reported 13 new outbreaks of flu this month, bringing the to-date total this season to 457.
There have been eight pediatric deaths in New York. Nationally, there have been 17,000 deaths attributed to the flu this season, including 85 associated with children, according to Department of Health data.
Health officials said people can consider wearing a mask, especially for those experiencing symptoms, or for those who are living with and caring for people who are at heightened risk of a severe illness. No mask requirement has been issued by state officials.
Health officials also recommend hand washing, staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with people when they are ill.