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Flu cases spiking after low numbers during COVID pandemic

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Montgomery County leads the state with 53 confirmed cases so far this season

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Flu season officially began Oct. 1, and there are already more cases this year than there have been in the past two years. The Clark County Health Department said this week last year that the entire state had only 3 reported cases of the flu. This year, the state is at 286.

“Almost kind of came out of nowhere,” says Allison Fuller, Clark County mom and director of the Kids Discovery Center.

The state releases updated flu numbers weekly and currently Montgomery County leads with a total of 53 cases so far this flu season, with all but two of those cases showing up in the past week.

Over the past two years, the number of flu cases has been minimal, according to many health experts, due to the precautions people were taking to protect themselves against COVID-19. Precautions like masking up, being vigilant about hand washing and staying socially distant. In central Kentucky, many counties are in the single digits for flu cases, except for Scott County with 25 flu cases for the season, but in places like Clark County, parents are skeptical .

“Clark County says there are only 6. Only 6 adults. Hey, I don’t know,” says Joan Lawson, whose family in Mt. Sterling came down with the flu.

Many parents in Clark County, taking the comments section on the Clark County Health Department’s flu post, revealing that many children have tested positive in the area.

“I have four boys, then five, including myself, all tested positive for the flu and that was through a doctor’s office,” says Fuller. “The number of out-of-school and out-of-school children in our daycare alone confirms much more.”

The Clark County Health Department says the numbers counted are only those reported by PCR tests, not rapid tests.

“One of the things we know is that there are a lot of doctors’ offices and medical providers who use rapid antigen tests and unfortunately when we look at the law and look at ‘what is a reportable disease,’ it’s a probable test result not a confirmation and so it doesn’t necessarily count,” says Becky Kissick, director of public health at the Clark County Health Department.

Failing to report rapid tests, leaving many parents doubting the numbers reported by the health department and fearing for their children’s safety.

“Could counting these rapids slow our spread if we had better numbers?” Fuller said.

“You don’t get a clear picture of the actual case count,” Lawson says.

The health department says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, as flu season typically lasts through April and peaks around the new year. Call your local health department or pharmacy to find out how to schedule a flu shot.

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