Around New England

Flu ‘Widespread’ in Rhode Island

December 28, 2019

Rhode Island health officials warn the flu is now “widespread” in the state, WPRI reports.

The Rhode Island Department of Health made the announcement on Thursday, December 26. In response, unvaccinated health care workers are mandated to wear masks during direct contact with their patients.

“The masking requirement helps protect health care workers from catching the flu and helps protect patients who are often dealing with other serious health issues,” state health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said, according to WPRI. “For people who have not been vaccinated yet, it is not too late. Flu vaccination is the single best way to keep yourself and the people you love safe from the flu.”

The state has a five-tier system of how health officials rate the flu threat in the state. “Widespread” is the highest ranking.

To prevent the virus from spreading, the health department is recommending that everyone over the age of six months be vaccinated for the flu this year.  They noted that the groups most vulnerable are pregnant women, people over the age of 60, nursing home residents, people with chronic conditions, and younger children.

“A lot of people who think, ‘Oh well I took the vaccine, but I still got the flu,’ yes, but you didn’t die of it,” Dr. Lowe said, according to WPRI.

As NBC 10 Providence points out, flu symptoms include, “a cough, fever, headaches or body aches.” Those who experience these symptoms are encouraged by the health department to visit a doctor.

According to Weather.com, last winter Rhode Island was among the states in the country with the highest flu threat.

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