Lowcountry hospitals see spike in flu cases for February

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Medical professionals say it’s officially peak flu season. It usually runs from late January through early February.

Hospitals across the Lowcountry have seen dramatic increases in flu cases within the past two weeks.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare had nearly 400 confirmed flu cases since Feb. 1 at their four express care facilities.

Trident Medical Center reported 361 confirmed flu cases from rapid flu tests from their four emergency rooms. That’s a huge increase from the 294 positive flu cases for all of January.

MUSC came close to that number with 353 confirmed cases for the month.

Medical professionals say the increase is caused by the peak of flu season combined with colder weather. They’re recommending getting the flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and keeping healthy.

Chris Graf, an emergency physician at Trident Medical center said, “Flu is highly contagious. You can cough on people, you can get it through contact so obviously keeping your hands washed, using hand sanitizers, avoiding touching or drinking after people that are sick.”

According to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were nearly 25,000 flu cases in the Lowcountry last flu season.

Over a thousand people were hospitalized and 60 died.

These are just reported numbers to the state, actual flu numbers are likely far higher.

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