COVID-19 Restrictions Also Made For A Milder Flu Season In Colorado

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Masks required, and no seating, at Trident Booksellers in Boulder, Monday, May 18, 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak.

Colorado's flu season has been dramatically less harmful this year thanks to
measures taken to combat COVID-19.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reported only 24 hospitalizations and no deaths due to the flu this season, which started in September and will continue through May.

"There's been a great side effect from all the work to control the pandemic," said Dr. Eric France, CDPHE's Chief Medical Officer. "Our numbers of hospitalizations have been very low — in the tens, rather than in the thousands."

During February of last flu season, more than 300 people in Colorado were hospitalized for the flu. Most flu seasons over the last decade have seen multiple deaths from the flu — usually children.

Overall, there were 3,546 influenza-associated hospitalizations reported between September 29, 2019, and May 23, 2020, according to CDPHE data.

There is no predominant strain of influenza circulating in the state, and there have been no reported outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

Dr. France says the state's flu vaccination rate has also risen by 13 percent.

"The real benefit of low flu rates is a low volume of illness and disease in our clinics," he said. "It's a great success for the people of Colorado and it's wonderful for our healthcare workers that they haven't had to deal with both COVID and influenza this winter season."