This story appeared in the Oakland Press. Read the full story here.

With the coronavirus pandemic cases soaring, containment of the flu is key to keeping hospitals from overflowing. So far the number of flu cases in Michigan remains lower than one year ago.

A total of 32 patient visits due to influenza like illness (ILI) was reported out of 7,847 office visits in Michigan for the week ended Oct. 31. That is a 0.4 percent ILI activity rate for the state which is up from .03 last week.

It is down from 0.9 percent one year ago on Nov. 1, 2019, when there were 127 patient visits out of 13,986 office visits.

Comparatively, the number nationally is 1.3 percent of outpatient visits that were due to ILI. That is also up from 1.2 percent last week. The Centers for Disease Control reports that seasonal flu activity is low 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.

Influenza vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza and related complications.
So far 2,363,949 flu vaccines have been given in Michigan with 328,568 of those in Oakland County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Michigan have set a goal to increase the number of people vaccinated in Michigan by 33 percent or more than 4.4 million total doses administered for the 2019-2020 flu season.

During the 2019-2020 flu season the CDC estimates that 38 million people were ill, 18 million people went to a healthcare provider, 400,000 were hospitalized, and 22,000 people died with influenza.

Globally the World Health Organization reports that despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.