An older resident of Hancock County last week became the first person in Maine to die from the flu this season, according to a weekly flu surveillance report from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to the death of the person over age 65, two people were hospitalized for the flu during the week ending Dec. 22, according to the Maine disease office. The people hospitalized were residents of Cumberland and Somerset counties.
Maine’s flu activity is currently categorized as sporadic by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the lowest level of flu activity, with small numbers of confirmed flu cases or a single outbreak.
Going against a national trend of increased flu activity this year over last year, Maine has seen a less intense flu season so far this year. At this point a year ago, 99 people in Maine had been hospitalized due to flu-related illnesses, compared with 17 so far this year through Dec. 22.
The number of people who have tested positive for the flu is also down. Some 373 people had tested positive at this point a year ago, compared with 168 this flu season.
By the end of last year’s flu season in the spring of 2018, more than 80 Mainers had died from the illness.
The Maine CDC releases weekly reports on flu cases and outbreaks. A list of local clinics and pharmacies offering flu vaccinations can be found on the federal CDC’s website.