Colorado and federal officials are preparing as flu season kicks into high gear. Flu diagnoses have been rising fast over the last month, especially in the south and the west, including in Colorado.
Hospitalizations have been rising every week in the state, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette convened a hearing in Washington DC today to hear about the preparations.
"While it's still too early to tell how severe this year's flu season will be, given the unpredictability and serious nature we face, the fact that our nation's flu vaccination rates continue to be well below our national targets of 70 to 90 percent is alarming," she said.
The flu season typically hits its peak between late December and early January.
Last flu season was the longest one in a decade, DeGette said. The 2018-2019 season was even more uncommon because it had two peaks.
So far, this season is similar to this point in time last year, Herlihy said, but there's no telling whether this year will also have two peaks.
Several lawmakers in the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing urged people to get their flu shots by bragging about their own immunizations.
CDPHE said it is not too late to get a flu immunization. It's the best way to protect oneself from the virus along with hand washing.
More than 3,800 people in 59 counties across the state were hospitalized with flu-related illnesses last season. This season, more than 150 people have already been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.