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UW Health has only recorded 1 case of the flu

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 3:53 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 5:59 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - One.

That’s how many positive influenza tests UW Health has recorded this flu season.

According to new numbers released by the hospital Tuesday, UW Health has only found that single case of the more common flus that typically roll through this time of year.

Making that number more staggering is a comparison to last year, a particularly bad one for flu cases. At this point in 2020, with Wisconsin’s first case of COVID-19 just a few days away from being diagnosed, UW Health had recorded 848 flu cases.

In the prior year, 2019, UW Health had tallied 140 positive tests by February 2.

Positive influenza cases reported at UW Health by Feb. 2 of each year:

  • 2018-19: 140
  • 2019-20: 848
  • 2020-21: 1

UW Health’s Dr. Nasia Safdar said health officials were relieved by the dramatic decline because they were initially worried about having to battle the coronavirus and the flu at the same time.

“l think it would definitely have been much worse if we had both the current state of Covid and influenza on top of it. I think that was everyone’s worry in the fall,” Safdar said.

UnityPoint-Meriter did not provide numbers on how people tested positive for influenza, but did note no one has been hospitalized with the flu so far this year.

Safdar credited the drop to the same steps people are taking to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19, including wearing masks, social distancing, and using hand sanitizer.

She added that in light of the drop, people may decide to wear masks in future flu seasons, regardless if the community is battling coronavirus.

One factor that does not seem to have made a difference is flu shots. Dept. of Health Services figures show the number of people who chose to get inoculated this flu season is very similar to last year.

According to its figures, 42 percent of people got the shot last year and, so far this season, that total stands at 41 percent.

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