PHOENIX — The Latest on Arizona’s surge of flu cases (all times local):
Arizona health officials say the state’s surge of flu cases continues, resulting in crowded clinics, doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms across the state.
The state Department of Health Services reports 11,515 flu cases statewide this season, compared with 1,109 cases during the same time period a year earlier.
The latest figures reported Wednesday include 2,455 cases reported between Dec. 31 and Saturday. That’s up from 275 cases during the equivalent week a year ago.
Dr. Cara Christ, the department’s director, says parents should make sure their children are vaccinated and keep them home from school if they have flu-like symptoms.
The department also advises people to seek emergency medical care only if they are at high risk for complications or experiencing severe symptoms.
Clinics and hospital emergency rooms across Arizona are crowded with flu patients seeking treatment.
The latest statewide figures released Friday by the Arizona Department of Health Services said 7,978 cases of flu were reported so far this flu season, compared with 834 during the same period a year earlier, an 857 percent increase.
Emergency services manager Jennifer Rohler at Kingman Regional Medical Center told the Kingman Daily Miner that wait times can stretch up to four hours and that many sick people are better off just staying home.
The Department of Health Services says getting vaccinated is the most effective protection against influenza.
The department says it can take up to two weeks to build full immunity to influenza following a vaccination, so people should get flu shots immediately.