Flu cases drop for second straight week in Massachusetts
The flu season may have peaked in Massachusetts.
The latest numbers show a sharp decline for the second week in a row in the number of patients showing up in doctors offices and community health centers with coughs, sore throats, and fever, according to the state Department of Public Health. The portion of visits that were for flu-like illnesses fell to 2.4 percent last week, barely half the percentage two weeks earlier.
However plenty of people are still sick. The numbers show 1,991 patients tested positive for the flu just last week -- and that is likely a fraction of those suffering because most people don’t bother to get a test to confirm their misery.
More than 11,000 patients have tested positive for the flu already this season, the numbers show, and the hardest hit region has been Northeast of Boston, which has reported more than 2,100 confirmed cases.
The numbers are still running significantly higher than a year ago, which was a mild season. At this point last year, there had been just 206 confirmed cases since the start of the flu season.
State health officials say that the latest news is encouraging, but note that flu can be unpredictable, and it’s too soon to know for sure whether flu season has peaked in Massachusetts.
They also say it’s not too late to get a flu shot.Kay Lazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.