Connecticut health officials are reminding people to get vaccinated against the flu and take precautions after a child died of the disease recently in Connecticut.

The child, a New Haven County resident between the ages of 1 and 5, was one of nine fatalities reported last week. Connecticut has logged 32 deaths since October – the start of flu season; only one child has died. More than 1,350 people have been hospitalized.

As the Coronavirus dominates headlines, health officials are asking residents to also be mindful of the more common threat.

“The death of any child is an absolute tragedy, and our hearts go out the Connecticut family who lost their child last week,” Public Health Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell said. “I want to remind Connecticut residents that influenza is the virus that we are most worried about right now. We are at the height of the flu season.”

The health department estimated that 10% to 15% of state residents will contract the flu before the season is over. The season runs through late May.

“Please, it is not too late to get a flu shot, and there are measures we can all take that can help keep us healthy this season,” Coleman-Mitchell said. “I encourage anyone who has questions to contact your primary care provider.”

People at higher risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, those with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu vaccine.

Health officials recommended people cover their mouths when coughing; wash hands afterward; disinfect countertops, doorknobs and other areas; and stay home to avoid infecting others.

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Jenna CarlessoHealth Reporter

Jenna is CT Mirror’s Health Reporter, focusing on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems, and other health policy. Before joining CT Mirror Jenna was a reporter at The Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won statewide and regional awards. Jenna has a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.

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