PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Health says the flu is now widespread in the state.

The agency made the declaration Wednesday. It triggers a requirement that unvaccinated health care workers must wear masks when working with patients.

The flu virus is contagious and can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. The health department recommends yearly vaccination for everyone older than 6 months.

Flu shots are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies across the state.

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