HELENA- The Montana Department of Health and Human Services weekly influenza update indicates the number of cases of the flu is still rising.

For the week ending on Dec. 23, the state saw 220 new cases across 32 counties.

Since flu season started, there have been seven deaths, 115 hospitalizations, and 613 total cases.

Flu activity in Montana is considered “widespread,” with influenza-like illnesses reported in at least half the regions of the state.

Story continues below

The counties with the most new confirmed cases include Flathead, Gallatin Yellowstone, and Big Horn.

On a positive note, there were no new influenza outbreaks reported this week at long-term care facilities. To date, there have been five outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Montana this season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the elderly and young children are particularly susceptible to the flu. The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get vaccinated and practice proper handwashing and hygiene.

For more on the flu season check out the Montana DPHHS’s influenza page.