Delaware announces first flu-related death of the season

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Divison of Public Health has announced its first flu-related death of the 2020-2021 season.

We’re told the patient was a 56-year-old Kent County man infected with influenza B who also had underlying health conditions.

As of December 19, 2020, which is the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been five laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in the first state for the current season. We’re told there have been two cases each in Kent and New Castle Counties, as well as one in Sussex County. This number only reflects lab-confirmed cases, and officials say the actual number of cases statewide is likely much higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid test kits in a provider’s office rather than a lab.

“This tragedy reminds us that while we are diligently fighting COVID-19, we cannot forget about influenza as it also can be extremely dangerous and deadly, particularly to individuals who already have weakened immune systems,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We are keeping this person’s family in our thoughts as well as everyone battling illness in this difficult time. We encourage Delawareans to get their flu vaccines if they have not done so already and to make sure everyone in their family gets theirs, too. The vaccine will lessen your likelihood of getting the flu and can lower the severity of your symptoms if you catch it. You should also take antiviral medicines if your primary care provider prescribes them.”

Categories: Delaware, Health, Local News