February 21, 2019
This week's flu report published by the Pennsylvania Health Department announced the number of confirmed flu cases in the state's 67 counties through February 16 — a point which is nearly halfway through flu season.
At this point in the season, the influenza has taken the lives of 46 adults and one child, though the majority of fatal cases have been of individuals 50 or older.
According to Lehigh Valley Live, an increase in flu activity was evident in all parts of the state in the last week, with the southwest and northwest regions seeing the worst of it. Currently, there have been 37,808 confirmed cases of the flu reported in all 67 counties, the report states.
It is estimated that five to 20 percent of Pennsylvanians, or 600,000 to 2.4 million people, get the flu each year and 120 to 2,000 die from flu-related complications, according to the state health department.
Noting that 16 adult deaths have been reported in the state in the last two weeks, the health department is still considering recent flu activity “widespread” and above epidemic levels.
As for the areas that have been most affected by influenza this year, which follows two back-to-back years of record-breaking flu seasons, Northampton County has topped the list for the entirety of the season, followed by Lehigh and Berks counties.
The breakdown of counties hardest hit is below. It's worth noting that the flu rate is the number of theoretical cases per 100,000 people. Cameron County has the highest flu rate in the state – 1,373 cases per 100,000 (or an actual 66 flu cases for its population of about 4,800 residents.)
Statewide, the flu rate is 295 cases per 100,000 people.
According to the state health department, these are the top 10 counties in Pennsylvania with the highest flu rates:
10. Bradford County: 550 cases per 100,000 people. Total actual cases: 340
9. Northampton County: 623 cases per 100,000 people. Total cases: 1,871
8. Crawford County: 653 cases per 100,000 people. Total cases: 568
7. Wayne County: 690 cases per 100,000 people. Total cases: 354
6. Clearfield County: 791 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 642
5. Jefferson County: 810 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 361
4. Fulton County: 826 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 121
3. Potter County: 841 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 145
2. Elk County: 865 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 269
1. Cameron County: 1,373 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 66
The five, more-populous Philadelphia-area counties did not make the top 10 list for flu rate, though some had a higher number of confirmed cases. That said, here are the flu rates for Philadelphia-area counties and their place on the state list:
61. Philadelphia County: 137 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 2,138
51. Bucks County: 210 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 1,316
47. Chester County: 235 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 1,204
28. Montgomery County: 364 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 2,967
25. Delaware County: 385 per 100,000 people. Total cases: 2,164