The flu season has struck Kern County hard this year and numbers from the county’s Department of Public Health Services prove it.
Health officials confirm five people have been hospitalized in intensive care for the flu but no new deaths have been reported.
The numbers come from a symptom tracking and reporting system from participating Kern County hospitals.
County officials said the final week of 2017 had the highest proportion of emergency room visits for patients with flu-like symptoms with fever at 9.7 percent of all patients.
That number went down in the latest numbers reported last week at 7.4 percent of emergency room visits, but the number remains high compared to previous years.
The previous two flu seasons only had 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent of emergency room visits attributed to fever and flu-like symptoms for the same time of the year.
Kern County schools have also had a small spike in absences for flu-like symptoms. Absences for flu-like symptoms last week attributed for 1.2 percent of all absences.
Absences for flu-like symptoms accounted for only 0.6 and 0.9 percent of absences in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Meanwhile, across the country, the CDC said 60 out of every 100,000 people were hospitalized for flu-related reasons.