The Monroe County Health Department confirms more than 1,300 flu cases this season. 226 people have been hospitalized.
Seven of those deaths happened within the past two weeks. The health department confirmed 183 cases of the flu during the entire season last year. We are already at 1,348 and it's only the beginning of January.
The national flu epidemic is getting worse by the day. Some area hospitals are flooded with patients and have no space left in their emergency rooms. That's why they're urging sick people to go urgent care facilities, like Rochester Immediate Care.
"We have been breaking all sorts of records here with the volume of patients that we are seeing and the majority present themselves with flu-like symptoms," said Dr. Janet Williams, Rochester Immediate Care Medical Director.
"They tell me I got the flu. I'm not hungry. I notice the food that I would normally like doesn't mean a thing now," said Martin O'Keefe, a patient at Rochester Immediate Care.
100-year-old Martin O'Keefe made a stop at the clinic Thursday. He got the flu vaccine back in November but that didn't stop him from getting the virus.
Dr. Williams hasn't seen a flu outbreak this severe in the past 25 years.
"The flu virus is not one thing. There are many different types of flu viruses and the vaccination is our best guess at what viruses we are going to see this year, so it is a hit or miss," said Williams.
Williams says it's not too late to get the flu shot. The vaccine is about 60 to 70 percent effective at preventing the virus. Doctors can't predict how long the flu season will last. Williams' guess is a month or two from now.
"I think I'm getting a little better gradually. The main thing is my balance which means I'm staggering," said O'Keefe.
While urgent care facilities and primary physicians can take care of most flu cases, Williams says the virus should not be taken lightly and if you are having complications, you should go to the hospital.
Scientists recently discovered this year's vaccine is not protecting people against a strain of the virus called Influenza B, but doctors say the vaccine is still your best defense.
The good news...there are plenty of flu shots left.