Arlington has 77 confirmed cases of the flu so far this season, a more than 15-fold increase over the town’s five confirmed cases last season, Christine Connolly, the town’s director of health and human services, wrote in an email Thursday evening.
And the 77 confirmed cases only represent a fraction of people in town who have had the flu, according to Connolly.
“The confirmed cases are only those that are tested by a doctor or at a hospital,” she wrote. “The actual number of cases is expected to be much higher.”
This flu season started in early December. The last flu season went from late March through early April, Connolly wrote.
Boston Under ‘Public Health Emergency’
Arlington is one of many communities in Massachusetts experiencing a flu spike this season. Neighboring Somerville ran out of flu vaccinations Tuesday, and the city of Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday as instances of the flu were ten times higher than they were last year.
Also Wednesday, the state Department of Public Health reported 18 flu-related deaths in the commonwealth so far this season.
More Arlington Flu Clinics?
Arlington had an additional flu clinic last Thursday, and Connolly wrote that the town is in the process of trying to access additional vaccine to host more clinics.
“We do not have anything set as of yet,” she wrote, “and will post immediately any information once it is available.”
Roughly 2,100 residents have been vaccinated through the town so far this season, up from 2,000 last year, Connolly wrote.
According to the CDC, there is still time to get a flu shot. In addition to the town’s clinics, most pharmacies in Arlington have flu shots available (locations).
For more information on how to help prevent the spread of flu, see the attached video or visit the CDC's flu website.