The first week of 2023 was a good one in Pierce County for folks worried about the flu.
The number of confirmed flu cases was low, and so was the amount of related hospitalizations, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
For the week ending Jan. 7, 140 laboratory tests for flu were positive out of a total of 1,362 tests. Officials also reported that 2 percent of people admitted to hospitals were treated for “influenza-like illness.” The latter is defined by the national Centers for Disease Control as fever, cough and/or sore throat in the absence of a known cause other than flu.
As of Jan. 18, 20 deaths in Pierce County have been attributed to the effects of influenza during the current flu “season.”
The health department monitors flu and other communicable illnesses, including COVID-19, and issues weekly updates on their prevalence. The information, which is obtained through hospitals and urgent-care clinics, lab tests, and reports of any outbreaks at congregate settings such as long-term care facilities, is online at tpchd.org.
Before the Jan. 7 report, the flu rate in Pierce County was considered high in the preceding week, due to higher rates of hospitalizations and confirmed cases.
Statewide, flu activity was reported as high as recently as Dec. 31 by the state Department of Health.