In their weekly influenza activity report, state health officials categorize the outbreak of the disease in the Granite State as "regional", while the spread of influenza has been labeled "widespread" in 46 other states, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDPC). Health officials urge people in high-risk groups-babies, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems-to get vaccinated against the flu.
Many of these patients are here because of the flu.
Hospitals in the Carolinas HealthCare System and in the Triad area have announced safeguards created to prevent the spread of the flu, including are telling children 12 years old and younger not to visit patients.
In the last week, doctors have seen an uptick in flu-related doctors visits while the rate of flu hospitalizations almost doubled.
The strain is taking its worst toll on the elderly, but is also causing complications for Baby Boomers and young children. Two of the people were between 61 and 80 years of age and the rest were older. In the last week, hospitalizations of children under five have nearly doubled and there were seven more pediatric deaths, bringing the season total to 20.
Nine influenza-associated deaths have been reported in Missouri from October to December 2017.
Flu season is well on its way to peaking early. It has reached epidemic levels, which it does every year, Jernigan said.
Flu cases spiked the most in the South with the number expected to rise as we head into the peak of flu season.
According to doctors, typically flu symptoms tend to start faster and are a little more severe than your common cold.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine, said Fitzgerald, the CDC director.
"It seems like it worked, which is great", she said.
"We know historically, if you look over the last few decades, that in general the vaccine is only 33 per cent effectiveness against the H3 strains where it's 60-70 per cent effective against the H1 Influenza A strain and Influenza B strains".
Already, 26 people died from the flu in North Carolina.
Dr. Michael Chen, a physician at The Portland Clinic in Tigard, tells FOX 12 more people are sick and have gotten the virus earlier than in years past. Get an annual flu shot, cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of the arm, wash hands with warm soap and water, and stay home if sick.