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1st flu death reported in LV

By Jamie Peter, WFMZ.com Reporter, JPeter@wfmz.com
69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:38:33 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 11:52:50 AM CST

LV's 1st flu death an infant

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. -

The flu has claimed its first victim in the Lehigh Valley for this flu season.

An infant died from the flu over the weekend, Brian Downs of Lehigh Valley Hospital said.

Privacy laws restricted Downs from saying anything else about the death.

People reported 7-9 hour emergency room waits over the weekend because of a huge influx of people with flu-like symptoms.

Tuesday the hospital opened a mobile emergency room in its parking lot to deal with anyone with flu-like symptoms. 

The mobile ER has been open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. since.  Hospital officials say it will remain open daily for the foreseeable future.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says flu is now ``widespread'' throughout the state and things are likely only going to get worse because the season typically doesn't peak until the middle of this month or February.
There have been more than 11,000 laboratory confirmed flu cases in the state since the flu season began in mid-December, with nearly 4,300 of those reported last week alone.

The department's flu-tracking website says ``widespread'' is the highest category for tracking the virus. That means there have been outbreaks or increases in flu-like or ``laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.''

So far, 971 flu-related hospitalizations and 22 deaths have been reported during the flu season.