TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Rhode Island lifts widespread flu declaration

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announced on Wednesday that the declaration of widespread flu there had been lifted.

HEALTH made the declaration on April 17. There have been 26 flu-related deaths and 620 flu-related hospitalizations this year in Rhode Island, while 961 people were hospitalized during the 2012-2013 flu season.

Healthcare workers who were not vaccinated against the flu were required to wear surgical masks while treating patients. HEALTH is still recommending that residents wash their hands regularly and practice good hygiene to prevent further spread of the flu.

"Although the level of flu in Rhode Island has dropped, the virus is still circulating in some communities," Rhode Island Director of Health Michael Fine said. "All Rhode Islanders should continue to protect themselves and those around them by regular hand-washing, covering their coughs, avoiding touching one's eyes, nose, and mouth, and staying active, hydrated, well-rested and well-nourished for a strong immune system."

More than 500,000 Rhode Island residents have been vaccinated for the flu this season. Health officials recommend that people over the age of six should receive a flu vaccination.

Young children, senior citizens, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to the disease. Chronic conditions include heart disease, asthma and diabetes.