Health officials urge public to get their flu shot as Virginia cases labeled as widespread

On a national-level, flu activity is low

There are not only COVID-19 concerns this winter but flu season is also here.

ROANOKE, Va. – Flu season is here and the Virginia Department of Health is already seeing widespread reports of the virus in recent weeks.

While flu activity remains low nationally, health leaders are encouraging everyone six months and older to get their flu shot.

“It is very likely we will see more influenza cases in the US and in our local community,” said the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie. “We are already seeing that. In our area, we have almost a thousand cases since September and actually five hundred cases in the last week.”

The doctor says it is especially important for those very young, the elderly and those immunocompromised to get vaccinated.

The 2020-2021 flu season was unusually mild.

However, Baffoe-Bonnie predicts a busier season this year.

“That could be as a result of the fact that we have loosened our guard in terms of masking and social distancing. Also, it’s very likely that because our previous influenza seasons were mild we’ve lost some of that immunity,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

Click here for locations near you to get the flu vaccine. It is safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.