RICHMOND, Va. — Make sure to wash your hands. The Virginia Department of Health said the flu level has reached "widespread."
This is the second week during the 2019-2020 flu season that Virginia reached the widespread level. Widespread means the Virginia Department of Health used lab work to confirm that there's either elevated influenza-like illnesses or more than one outbreak in three or more regions.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said elevated flu activity is expected to continue for weeks.
The Hampton Roads region was considered to have a moderate level of influenza-like illnesses.
In Norfolk, Dr. John Snellings with Eastern Virginia Medical School said he anticipates cases will continue to spike.
“We're starting to really hit the time of the year when the flu hits its peak for the next couple of months I'd say, so we'll anticipate seeing more cases here in our office,” Dr. Snellings said.
Dr. Snellings said so far this year, he has seen fewer flu cases than this time last year, but the conditions his patients are dealing with are just as severe as previous seasons.
The Virginia Department of Health conducts influenza surveillance to provide situational awareness, inform prevention strategies, and prepare for potential pandemics. The efforts from the VDH include collecting and analyzing data on visits to emergency departments and urgent care centers for an influenza-like illness.
The Virginia Department of Health also checks laboratory results to confirm test, suspected, and confirmed outbreaks, and pediatric and adult deaths.
Here's the breakdown of levels of flu in a region:
- No Activity - No influenza-like illnesses, outbreak, or lab activity above threshold
- Sporadic - One confirmed outbreak or lab activity without elevated influenza-like illnesses
- Local - Lab activity with either elevated influenza-like illnesses or more than one outbreak in one region
- Regional - Lab activity with either elevated influenza-like illnesses or more than one outbreak in two regions
- Widespread - Lab activity with either elevated influenza-like illnesses or more than one outbreak in three or more regions
It's not too late to get vaccinated. Flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications.
View the data from the Virginia Department of Health on the flu: