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Oklahoma COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass flu hospitalizations

The flu season officially began on September 1st and so far, no one in Oklahoma has died from...
The flu season officially began on September 1st and so far, no one in Oklahoma has died from influenza this season.(KXII)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:50 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Oklahoma (KXII) - The flu season officially began on Sept. 1 and so far, no one in Oklahoma has died from influenza this season.

“We started seeing the flu much earlier this year,” Convenient Family Care doctor and co-owner Michael Carnahan said. “We have already seen flu cases starting in September. I wouldn’t say we had an outbreak of flu, but it’s sort of a spattering of flu and it was unusual that it started as soon as it did.”

The Carter County Health Department says it could be because more flu tests are being given right now.

“If some people are sick we will just go ahead and check them in their car and do a flu screen and do a covid screen and see what kind of direction we need to go with it,” Carnahan said.

Since Sept. 1, five people in Carter County have died of coronavirus, but no one in the county has died of the flu or even been hospitalized for it.

Last flu season, one person in Carter County had been hospitalized from the flu, while 90 people had been hospitalized across the state.

As of Saturday, 51 people in Oklahoma have been hospitalized because of the flu since the start of the season. In that same timeframe, around 5,000 Oklahomans have been hospitalized because of COVID-19.

“The hospitals in Oklahoma are full,” Carnahan said. “And when someone gets a fever or body aches, your initial response is ‘well, I gotta know if this is COVID.’”

The CDC said seasonal flu activity is low right now, but that could change in the coming months.

“When people get together for holidays and school, then that’s usually a time when flu gets spread more readily,” Carnahan said. “It’s [similar to] COVID, if you’re outside and in the air it doesn’t seem to spread as readily as in an enclosed space.”

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