Washington D.C.: (CNN): Over the past 15 flu seasons, the current season is the first time all states in the entire continental US have reported widespread flu activity during the same week, according to the CDC.
“We are certainly seeing the impact of flu at our hospital locally,” said Dr. Patricia Whitley-Williams, professor and chief of the division of pediatric allergy, immunology, and infectious diseases at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.
From New York to California, health care providers and state officials are taking matters into their own hands to do what they can to protect their patients and residents.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Thursday allowing pharmacists to administer flu shots to children between the ages of 2 and 16. In addition, insurers have been asked to waive pre-authorization requirements for antiviral medications within the first 48 hours of illness.
Over the past week, the state has diagnosed a record high number of flu cases and hospitalizations, with 1,759 New Yorkers being hospitalized with confirmed flu, according to Cuomo’s office.
Schools in Gulf County, Florida closed Friday due to “a significant impact from influenza-like cases” among students and staff, according to an announcement from the superintendent of Gulf County Schools, on the school district’s Facebook page.
Schools in Gunter, Texas closed “due to widespread flu and illness” for an entire week and reopened on Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Gunter Independent School District’s superintendent. The school district closed after 253 student absences, with the majority being due to either confirmed flu or flu-like symptoms.
While there’s not one state in particular seeing the worst or higher flu activity than others, “we are seeing some signs that flu is on the decline in the West,” CDC’s Nordlund said.