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Counties getting extra state funds to fight the flu

National Public Radio

Counties across New York State are getting extra financial support to battle the influenza epidemic, as the number of confirmed flu cases continues to rise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing the Department of Health to provide reimbursement to local health departments in 57 counties and New York City to help them fund additional campaigns to promote and increase flu vaccines. The governor says the move is aimed at accommodating New Yorkers still needing a flu shot.

State health officials say the number of lab-confirmed flu cases continues to rise, with 15,750 reported since last week, including about 2,350 who needed hospitalization. Those are the highest weekly numbers since the epidemic began nine weeks ago.

More than 52,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed statewide since Feb. 3. In Erie County alone, the Health Department says there were 11,683 cases reported for the week ending Jan. 27, a 50 percent increase from the previous week and the eighth consecutive week influenza has been categorized as "geographically widespread."

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