24 flu-related hospitalizations reported in LeFlore County

Ken Milam
News Editor

The flu season — already one of the deadliest in decades — continues to sicken and kill people across the state and nation.

In Oklahoma, 153 people have died, the highest since the Oklahoma State Department of Health began tracking the disease numbers in 2009. In neighboring Arkansas, 140 deaths have been reported.

The state’s first pediatric death — a child between the ages of 5-18 — was reported in Oklahoma County. Nationwide, at least 63 children have died from flu-related illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Locally, 24 hospitalizations have reported in LeFlore County.

The OSDH said 3,440 hospitalizations have been reported in the state since the flu season officially began Sept. 1. The actual number of cases is much higher, because many do not seek medical help and are not tested.

State health officials remind the public that there are several weeks remaining in the flu season, and the number of hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase. A flu shot is encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months who hasn’t been immunized.

In an effort to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths, the OSDH is offering flu vaccinations statewide at no cost to recipients at all county health department sites. The flu shot is encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months, but is especially recommended for those over the age of 65, those who suffer from chronic heart and lung conditions, and pregnant women.

The OSDH has high-dose vaccine for seniors that may not be available from health care providers.

For clinic hours, contact the LeFlore County Health Department at 1204 Dewey Ave., Poteau, (918) 647-8601.