This story appeared in The Royal Oak Tribune. Read the full story here.

While COVID-19 case numbers are high, flu cases dropped in Michigan over the last week.

A total of 34 patient visits due to influenza like illness (ILI) was reported out of 7,270 office visits in Michigan for the week ended Dec. 5. That is a 0.5 ILI activity rate for the state which is down from 1.0 last week.

A year ago on Dec. 7, 2019, it was at 1.2 percent when there were 131 patient visits out of 11,103 office visits.

Comparatively, the number nationally is 1.6 percent of outpatient visits which is the same as last week and substantially lower than it was a year ago when it stood at 3.2 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that seasonal flu activity is lower than usual this year nationally.

ILI is defined as a fever (higher than 100 degrees) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza.

No pediatric deaths due to the flu have been confirmed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the 2020-2021 flu season. Nationally, one influenza-associated pediatric death has been reported thus far.

Providers may have different procedures and practices for evaluating and treating flu during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have flu symptoms and are at high risk of serious flu complications, you should call your healthcare provider as soon as possible to tell them about your symptoms. Your provider may decide to treat you with flu antiviral medications. Follow your health care provider’s and CDC’s recommendations for doctor visits. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.

A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older with rare exceptions. It is not too late to be vaccinated.

To find a place near you for a flu vaccine go to Michigan.gov/flu. Many drug store chains and retailers offer flu shots.

According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.