New York State Department of Health Reminds New Yorkers That Flu Is Still Widespread and Urges Vaccination

Case and Hospitalization Counts Related to Flu Remain High, With Acute Care and Long Term Care Facilities Reporting 37 New Outbreaks of Flu

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ALBANY, N.Y. (January 17, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health continues to emphasize the importance of everyone aged six months and older getting a flu shot, with the Department's latest report showing the virus remains widespread across the State. The report also shows there have been six influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported in New York during the current season.

"We are seeing some decreases in flu A, which is welcome news, however we are starting to see an uptick in flu B." Acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Although most flu cases are mild and people will usually recover without complications, the flu poses a more serious risk for individuals with weakened immune systems, with chronic medical conditions, or who are pregnant. That's why, I urge those who are not vaccinated to get a flu shot as soon as possible."

The Department's latest flu surveillance report, with data through January 7, shows a total of 293,541 influenza cases across all 62 counties in New York reported to date. Long-term care and acute-care facilities reported 37 new outbreaks of flu, bringing the total this flu season to 444 outbreaks.

While lab-confirmed flu cases are down 36 percent across New York, falling from 22,905 to 14,656 new cases, weekly case numbers are still at significant levels. Hospitalizations for the week ending Jan. 7 were at 1,621, a drop of 34 percent from the previous week.

The report is available on the Department of Health's Flu Tracker, which provides timely information about local, regional, and statewide flu activity. Nationally, the weekly U.S. surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an estimated 16,000 deaths across the country attributed to the flu so far this season, including 79 influenza-associated pediatric deaths. The CDC's report also found an estimated 260,000 hospitalizations due to influenza this flu season.

In addition to a flu shot, individuals are also encouraged to wear a well-fitting mask, especially for those who experience symptoms or who live with, care for, or are considered at a heightened risk of severe illness, including children five years of age or younger, pregnant people, older adults and/or those with underlying health conditions such as a weakened immune system, diabetes, heart and/or lung disease and/or asthma.

To treat influenza infections, there are antiviral medications that can be prescribed by health care providers, such as Tamiflu, which can reduce the length and severity of the flu.

Avoiding illness by getting the flu shot remains the most effective way to prevent infection and reduce the risk of severe illness for children and adults. According to research gathered by the CDC, vaccination has significant health advantages, particularly for people at risk of getting very sick, including:

  • It reduces the chance of people from getting sick with the flu, cutting the risk of having to go to the doctor by 40 to 60 percent.
  • In children, the vaccine reduces the risk of severe, life-threatening influenza by 75 percent; decreases flu-related hospitalizations by 41 percent; and cuts the risk of emergency department visits in half.
  • Flu vaccination during pregnancy reduces the risk of being hospitalized by an average of 40 percent and helps protect the baby from flu for several months after birth, when babies are too young to get vaccinated.
  • For older adults, the vaccine reduces the risk of flu-associated hospitalization by about 40 percent.
  • Among those with chronic health conditions, the vaccine is associated with lower rates of some cardiac events, as well as reducing the risk of hospitalization from flu-related worsening of lung diseases and diabetes.

The Department is utilizing a number of tools to increase public knowledge about the spread of flu and the importance of vaccinations as a critical prevention step, including sharing information on social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The flu vaccine is widely available, found at pharmacies, health clinics and physician's offices across the state. The Department also strongly encourages everyone who is eligible, age six months and older, to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. To find a flu or COVID-19 vaccine location near you, visit

In addition to getting the vaccine and considering wearing a well-fitting mask when indoors or in crowds, simple preventative actions can help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information about influenza in New York, visit the Department of Health's flu website.