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First flu death in state confirmed as officials predict severe season

So far, more than 6,000 flu cases have been reported, more cases reported earlier than in past years.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut health officials said Monday afternoon that the first death due to flu related causes has been confirmed. 

"The death of an adult , age 50 – 59, from New London County, occurred during November. No other information on this patient will be released," said officials in a press release.

Earlier in the day, state officials said they are preparing to see a more severe flu season with more flu cases now reported earlier than in years past. 

So far, the state is aware of more than 6,000 flu cases, but the real number is expected to be higher, accounting for people that did not get a flu test. 

The Commissioner for the Department of Public Health, Manisha Juthani, said more than 100 people have been hospitalized with the flu so far this year with cases of Influenza impacting the very young and the elderly. 

Cases are predominately in Fairfield County but the virus is expected to spread throughout the state earlier and harder than it has in past years. 

Data shows this is the earliest flu season in the last four years, and with the winter months, cases are expected to surge. 

That would make this season the worst flu season in quite some time.

 Primarily, flu “A” spreads earlier in the season and flu “B” is contracted later in the season. 

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This is in addition to COVID and RSV concerns. 

Commissioner Juthani said the DPH is in contact with hospitals across the state regularly to make sure they are prepared and not overwhelmed when people need treatment. 

"In terms of our pediatric beds, we are at the range of 80-90% and adult range is around 80-90%, so at this point and time, our hospitals are busy but they’re hanging in there and ready to take care of patients," said Juthani. 

RSV cases are greater in Hartford County right now and COVID cases have plateaued, but overall with this rampant flu season that’s expected, Juthani said we can be prepared to see a "relatively bad winter season." 

Health experts are reminding people to get their flu shots if they haven’t already to protect against the virus, along with a COVID booster. 

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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