Explaining the truth behind flu numbers in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Center For Disease Control and Prevention’s week after week influenza report is out and this year, Colorado seems to be getting hit especially hard.

When you walk into the El Paso County Health Department, you’re welcomed with tissues, hand sanitizer, and confront veils.

This is on the grounds that they need to prevent people from becoming a flu statistic. The CDC reports 84,000 Americans have been hospitalized in three months.

Haley Zachary, a disease expert in El Paso County, says those numbers definitely show we’re in the middle of the flu season.

In spite of that, the number still appears somewhat high, however. Of that 84,000, 1,200 hospitalizations are right in here Colorado. We asked Zachary to explain what a hospitalization involves.

“People who go to the ER for influenza and are tested there will not be counted towards the influenza numbers unless they are admitted into to the hospital and are required to stay there,” Zachary said.

In any case, a few people with this flu virus don’t go to the hospital at all. so, how do those flu cases get counted?

“Those numbers are tracked by the CDC in certain areas of the nation but not here locally,” Zachary said.

Meaning there could, in fact, be more cases of the flu, but the health department doesn’t know about them.

Zachary says the flu in El Paso County isn’t as bad as it was last year and they believe it’s because the H1N1 strain and the vaccine are a match.