The flu continues to be widespread across Tarrant County with sick patients filling doctor’s offices and emergency rooms — yet there may be a glimmer of hope.
Tarrant County Public Health’s chief epidemiologist Russell Jones said the number of people with flu-like illnesses coming to emergency rooms may be dropping.
“I will tell you looking at the preliminary data, the very preliminary ER data, last week looks to be a peak,” Jones said. “We don’t know if it’s the peak.”
This year, the predominant strain is H3N2, which tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations.
In Tarrant County, 8 deaths have been voluntarily reported to Tarrant County Public Health but Jones said there have likely been far more. All 8 deaths in Tarrant County had underlying conditions.
In Dallas County, which has a more extensive reporting system, there have been 38 flu-related deaths this year. Collin County also reported its first six deaths.
Even with the hopeful sign that the flu may be dropping, it won’t go away anytime soon.
During the last bad H3N2 season in 2014-15, the flu stuck around.
“We will look for it to come down but it will stay high into February,” Jones said. “If this was the peak, it’s about three weeks later than years ago and that flu stayed high into the third week of February.”
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