Though flu season is still in its beginning stages, nearly 10,000 Arkansans have reported a positive flu case, and 19 flu-related deaths have been reported, according to the state health department.
The Arkansas Department of Health does not release many demographic details about the deaths, but it does release age. Since Oct. 2, 12 deaths have been among those 65 and older, five were individuals aged 45-64, one was an individual aged 25-44 and one was a kid aged 5-17.
The reports have a slight delay, and the most recent data is from the week ending on Nov. 19. According to the report, this was the first pediatric death. The flu intensity in Arkansas also reached the second highest level it can be, according to the report.
The flu hit early this year, and health experts aren’t sure when the high numbers could end. The reported numbers also only show a portion of the actual number of flu cases in the state, so infections are likely much higher.
Since Oct. 2, eight nursing homes reported flu outbreaks, though other information about those outbreaks are not released.
Absentee rates in Arkansas schools averaged 8.6% statewide, though 31 counties reported a rate higher than that. Pulaski County fell under the average at 7.44%. The highest absenteeism rate was reported in Mississippi County on the state’s Eastern border with a rate of 13.76%. Lee County did not report data.
Compared to neighboring states, Arkansas is one of the worst for flu activity. Tennessee is the only state nearby that has a more intense activity level, according to the ADH report.