Posted at: 01/10/2013 6:59 PM
By: Laura Lee
(ABC 6 News) -- We are learning that the flu in Minnesota is much worse and more severe than previously thought.
The Minnesota Department of Health is saying it's reaching pandemic levels with a total of 27 flu-related deaths and 1,121 hospitalizations. In just the past week, there were 401 hospitalizations alone, similar to a week in the 2009 outbreak.
State health officials say the elderly are the hardest hit by the flu at this point. According to them, of the 27 flu related deaths, 23 victims have been at least 65-years-old.
And of the 1,121 hospitalizations, 62 percent of the cases are the elderly. In fact, the state has been tracking 28 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in just the last week.
Because of this health officials are stressing the importance of staff members getting vaccinated and they are also restricting visitors.