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Flu in Minnesota: 900 hospitalized, vaccine shortage at some clinics

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Entrance to "flu wing" at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minn. Photo by Rob Olson / FOX 9 News. Entrance to "flu wing" at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minn. Photo by Rob Olson / FOX 9 News.
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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

More than 900 people have now been admitted to hospitals across Minnesota for treatment of the flu, and the new numbers from the health department Thursday are expected to show another jump in flu cases.

The biggest number of flu cases is in the Twin Cities metro, but the highest percentage of the population with the flu is in the south central region.

15 hospitals in south central Minnesota are agreeing to visitor restrictions. At Fairview Ridges in Burnsville, Minn., they've been so full they've had to turn patients away and send them to other intensive care units in the city. Hospitals with restrictions on visitor are hoping to slow the spread.

"You really don't need to go into the clinic, you don't need to go to urgent care or a doctor, and quite honestly you're spreading it around while you do that," said Dr. Greg Kutcher of Mayo Health System. "For those folks, we'd actually prefer you stay at home."

Doctors say there is "zero supply concern" with flu shots in Minnesota, although the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday that some clinics are running out of privately-purchased vaccines and are struggling to find additional doses in the private sector. Any clinic having difficulty acquiring more vaccines is urged to borrow MnVFC flu vaccines for children.

So far, 91 percent of the flu cases match a strain in the vaccine. It's not too late to get a flu shot, and it's still highly recommend for the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems.

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