WACO, Texas (KWTX) The flu is now widespread here and around the state and the Waco-McLennan County Health Department is reporting a five-year high in the number of influenza cases to date.
"They have been rapidly increasing every week for the past several weeks and so we are now at a point where you can consider the flu widespread,” health department spokeswoman Kelly Craine said Thursday.
End-of-year statistics show the number of flu cases reported to date in the county—1,468 at the end of last week--is the highest since 2015.
Ascension Providence. Hospital and Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco both have had trouble over the past week finding enough open beds because of the number of flu cases.
"Flu is out there (and) you have a greater opportunity to run into someone with the flu this week than you did two weeks ago,” Craine said.
The health district still urges residents to get vaccinated, particularly the very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
"Getting your flu shot can make the difference between being sick for two or three weeks or even hospitalized, or being able to get over it in two or three days," says Craine.
Before Christmas Break, several area school districts started vacations early because of illness.
A call requesting information about flu activity from the Bell County Health District was not returned Thursday.