Flu severity in Mass. increases to ‘very high’ ahead of school vacation week

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says influenza severity in Mass. has now increased to "very high," the highest on its rating scale.

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says influenza severity in Mass. has now increased to “very high,” the highest on its rating scale.

Weekly severity is determined by combining three key markers of influenza activity and distribution: influenza-like illness, hospitalizations, and influenza-positive test results reported to the DPH.

Health officials say the percentage of flu-like illness visits continues to increase and remains higher than this time the previous two years.

Content Continues Below

Officials say this flu season, influenza B positive specimens have been reported more than influenza A and the percent of flu-related hospitalizations has continued to increase in recent weeks.

This comes as students across the Commonwealth are about to go on February break. Boston 25 News went to different places that may be packed with kids next week to see what they’re doing to keep kids healthy.

At the Museum of Science, officials told us this coming week is their busiest week of the year. The Head of Facilities says they urge all employees who are sick to stay home. They also have a 24-hour cleaning cycle where exhibits are extensively cleaned overnight and during opening hours.

“Right now we have increased our frequency of taking care of bathroom areas, door handles, cafeterias, places where people going at,” said Paul Ippolito, Museum of Science.

Health officials want to remind everyone that the flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

Keeping your hands clean is key to preventing illness, says Dr. Ali Raja, the executive vice chair of the emergency medicine at MGH.