NEW YORK (AP) - It looks like Groundhog Day for the nation's flu report, too: It's gotten worse, and there are weeks of suffering ahead.
The government's latest report out Friday shows the flu season continued to intensify last week. One of every 14 visits to doctors and clinics were for symptoms of the flu. That's the highest level since the swine flu pandemic in 2009.
Last week, 42 states reported high patient traffic for the flu, up from 39. Hospital stays because of the flu were also up. Experts had thought this season might be bad, but its intensity has surprised most everyone. The flu usually peaks in February. Friday's report is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In New York, state health officials say laboratory-confirmed influenza cases topped 11,000 over the past week, with another 2,200-plus New Yorkers requiring hospitalization because of the flu.
In releasing the latest flu statistics Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo again urged people to get the flu vaccine. The Democrat says flu cases and hospitalizations "continue to rise at alarming levels."
Health officials say the total confirmed flu cases during the past week reached 11,683, with 2,221 people hospitalized with confirmed influenza.
Overall, there have been nearly 37,000 lab-confirmed flu cases over the past eight weeks in New York state, with more than 9,300 people requiring hospitalization.
Doctor visits for flu-like symptoms hit their highest level nationwide since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.