Flu cases top 20 in GLOW region

As the four-county GLOW region nears the peak of flu season, the number of confirmed cases continues to remain far below what health officials typically see. Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties had combined through Jan. 25 for a total of 21 confirmed flu cases since the season began in October, according to data from the New York State Department of Health.

Nine of the cases have been confirmed in January.

The GLOW counties would typically have seen hundreds of cases by late January, with flu season typically peaking in the region in February.

Flu season begins in October and runs into May, though the flu can occur at any time of the year.

Livingston County saw its first cases in January. It has had a total of three cases, the first reported the week ending Jan. 9, with two more confirmed for the week ending Jan. 16.

Wyoming County has had eight total cases, Genesee County has had six, and Orleans County with four.

Orleans County had the region’s first confirmed case the week ending Oct. 24. Wyoming County followed with its first two cases in the week ending Oct. 31, and Genesee County reported its first two cases the week ending Nov. 14.

About 500 people have been tested for the flu in the GLOW region, including 204 in Genesee County, 126 in Livingston, 95 in Wyoming and 71 in Orleans, according to the state Department of Health.

The downward trend is being seen statewide. New York State has had 2,951 test positive for flu this season, compared to 57,378 lab-confirmed cases at roughly the same point a year ago, according to state Department of Health data.

On Jan. 16, the flu was present in 42 New York counties. A year ago, on Jan. 18, 2020, the state reported flu cases in 61 counties.

During the 2019-20 flu season, the GLOW region saw 2,013 total cases of flu. This included 695 cases in Livingston County, 598 in Genesee County, 454 in Wyoming County, and 266 in Orleans County.

Last year was the most severe flu season in three years, with a strain of Influenza B - which typically is most common later in the season - being more prevalent early in the season.

It’s important to note, health officials said, that the number of lab-confirmed cases may not reflect the flu’s true prevalence. Not everyone seeks testing for confirmation of the flu and as the flu becomes more widespread it may overwhelm the ability to test and report cases practically even as people are treated for symptoms typical of the flu.

In 2018-19, the GLOW region had 1,719 lab-confirmed cases of flu, which included 581 cases in Genesee County, 580 in Livingston County, 288 in Wyoming County and 270 in Orleans County.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone above the age of six months.

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