Ohio health department reports rise in flu hospitalizations


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio health officials say the number of flu-related hospitalizations has spiked for the first time during this relatively mild influenza season.

The Ohio Department of Health on Wednesday announced 203 new flu-related hospitalizations from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27. That’s up from 93 a week earlier.

The figures bring the season’s total hospitalizations to 653 since October, compared with nearly 8,000 by the same time last year, when the vaccine didn’t protect as well against the dominant flu strain.

The state doesn’t report adult flu deaths and hasn’t recorded deaths of children this year.

Health officials say the season started late and is milder than the past three years, but getting the vaccine is still important, especially for the chronically ill, the elderly and pregnant women.