DES MOINES — There have been 11 flu-related deaths in Iowa so far this season, and Des Moines hospitals have seen a surge of positive flu cases the past two weeks.
Doctors at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center say this flu season has been bad so far, with 176 people testing positive at their Des Moines location. Of those 176, more than half were diagnosed in the last two weeks, according to pharmacy specialist Jeff Brock.
“There’s still plenty of flu vaccine available and as long as we have vaccine available people should still go out and get their flu shots,” Dr. Brock said. “It’s not too late.”
Blank Children’s Hospital has seen 194 people with the flu so far. Both MercyOne and Blank agree that we’re well into flu season at this point, but the bulk of flu cases are yet to come.
“Even if you think, ‘Oh it’s not 100 percent effective, why should I get the flu shot?’ The reason is because it could still save your life if you do get the flu,” said Dr. Nathan Boonstra with UnityPoint Hospital in Des Moines.
Both hospitals have announced that only parents of children in the NICU will be allowed inside the department in order to best protect the young patients.
For the latest influenza numbers form the Iowa Department of Public Health, click here.