Local doctors don't want coronavirus to overshadow flu threat already in North Carolina

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As the coronavirus continues to dominate headlines, doctors hope it doesn't overshadow another respiratory illness that's already killed 54 people in North Carolina.

We've lost more lives in the last week to the flu in North Carolina than there are even cases of coronavirus in the United States.

State health officials announced nine more people died from the flu last week. That brings the death toll to 54 this flu season.

"At least in the Cone Health system we are seeing anywhere from 10 to even 13 percent of all our ED visits having to do with influenza-like illnesses," said Cynthia Snider, an infectious disease specialist at Cone Health.

Snider says what those percentages tell them is the Piedmont Triad is still at the height of flu season and why she encourages everyone to get their flu shot.

"For those who are at risk of having complications it makes a difference. It's probably better than nothing, and anything you can do to shorten your period of being sick, a less period of shedding the virus, so that you protect your loved ones and your household is the way to go," Snider said.

Visitor restrictions, in place for children age 12 and younger, are still being enforced at Cone Health while the flu threat remains high.

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