H1N1: Minnesota reports six more swine flu deathsUPDATED 2:44
Minnesota health officials reported six more swine flu deaths and one more from an undetermined flulike illness today but said overall flu activity in the state dipped again.
By: Steve Karnowski, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota health officials reported six more swine flu deaths and one more from an undetermined flulike illness today but said overall flu activity in the state dipped again.
The new deaths brought the state’s total number of confirmed deaths from swine flu as of Saturday to 21, plus two from unspecified flulike illnesses since the H1N1 virus first turned up in the state, the Minnesota Department of Health said in its weekly update.
The latest data also showed flu activity in continuing to wane slightly for the second straight week in Minnesota. Forty Minnesota schools, mostly in the Twin Cities metro area, reported outbreaks of flulike illnesses last week, down from 137 the week before. Visits for flulike illnesses to selected outpatient clinics across the state decreased. And no outbreaks were reported at the state’s long-term care facilities last week.
As of last Saturday, 1,261 people had been hospitalized due to confirmed swine flu cases in Minnesota since Sept. 1 — including 134 new cases — bringing the total for the pandemic to 1,521.
Vaccine supplies remain limited and it’s not clear yet when that will change, so the health department is still relying on health care providers that get vaccine shipments to target the people who need it the most, spokesman Buddy Ferguson said.
“We’ve been encouraging providers to reach out to their high-risk patients,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been asking the public to be patient and persistent.”
Officials are still restricting the vaccine to people in the highest risk groups: children 6 months through 4 years old; children from 5 to 18 years old who have health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer; pregnant women; health care and emergency medical personnel who provide direct patient care, and parents and primary care providers of infants younger than 6 months old.