The flu is now widespread in Rhode Island. The Health Dept. made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
So far this season, 51 Rhode Islanders have been hospitalized. In the next few weeks, flu activity in the state is expected to rise.
"We've had plenty of lab confirmed cases in all counties in Rhode Island," said Dr. Utpala Bandy, RI Health Dept.
"This is not a typical year. This year younger people are more affected than the elderly. But the good news for children and young adults is that the flu vaccine is a very good match for the strain that is circulating. It's not too late to be vaccinated," said Michael Fine, M.D., Director of Health.
The Health Department's declaration requires all healthcare workers who are not vaccinated to wear a mask around patients.
The Department announced it's set up free vaccination clinics across the state for the next three weeks.
The first clinic was at the Warwick Mall Tuesday night.
"As a parent I myself get the flu shot because I know that I don't wanna get sick, my child is gonna get sick," said Donna King.
Seventeen additional clinics have been scheduled throughout the state and are open to everyone over 6 months of age. This schedule can be found at: www.health.ri.gov/find/vaccinations
For more information about the flu and flu vaccination clinics, contact the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.