TDHHS says December and January aren’t included in those numbers because there’s usually a delay on receiving that information. Nonetheless, doctors are urging folks to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t done so yet. TDHHS tells FOX 7 Austin:
“As of January 2, there were 1,865 flu-related deaths statewide and 207 in Region 7 (which includes Austin). Flu-related deaths are not required to be reported to the health department unless it is a pediatric death with lab confirmed flu. We use death certificate data to track flu-related deaths. Any death that has influenza or pneumonia listed as an underlying or contributing cause is counted as a flu-related death. Because we use death certificate data, there is a lag between when the person died and when the death shows up in our report. Death certificates are supposed to be filed within 10 days of the death but sometimes it takes a little longer to be finalized. Many people are surprised to learn that there are thousands of flu-related deaths each year. There were 12,578 flu-related deaths in Texas last flu season”.
Dr. Claire Hebner at the Austin Regional Clinic Far West location says she was one of thousands of doctors last year who were working around the clock treat patients during what the CDC called the worst flu season in the past decade.
December 30th 2018 to January 5th 2019 at 26 ARC locations, almost 900 patients had flu-like symptoms and were tested. Of those, 205 were tested positive for flu.
Dr. Hebner says if you have flu-like symptoms, stay away from others and see a doctor. If you don’t want to get it, it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine, and remember to wash your hands frequently.