flu vaccine

The City of Rochester and Monroe County have teamed up with several organizations and community groups to provide free COVID-19 testing and flu vaccinations in city neighborhoods. 

The initiative is intended to give Black and brown communities better access to health screenings and prevention. For two weeks, select Rochester churches will serve as the locations for the testing sites and flu clinics. 

Local health officials are trying to get the word out about the need for people to get their flu shots.

Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza said on Thursday that it’s especially critical this year, since the community is dealing with the twin challenges of COVID-19, and the regular flu season.

Mendoza is hoping even more people get the flu vaccine than usual.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

New York state is considering the possibility of making the flu vaccine mandatory for students attending school this year for in-person learning, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Thursday, as public health officials urge the public to get vaccinated for the disease.

As the state enters this year’s flu season, public health officials have encouraged vaccinations to cut down on the number of flu tests that will have to be conducted.

The Monroe County Health Department has reported the second death related to the flu this season.

The first one was reported last October, and involved a child under 4 years old.

The latest death was revealed in a weekly report from the health department which said the death involved someone between 75 and 84 years old.

Monroe County Public Health Department and University of Rochester Medical Center Center for Community Health & Prevention

The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health both announced that they will begin restricting visitors to their hospitals now that the number of flu cases in Monroe County has more than doubled in the last week.

Monroe County also has the highest number of reported flu cases in the state outside of the New York City metro area, according to the state health department.

New York State Department of Health

The annual declaration from health authorities that the flu is prevalent in New York state kicked off a series of rules for hospitals and nursing homes.

People who work in health care and are not vaccinated now need to wear surgical masks around patients.

Also, hospitals and nursing homes need to keep track of the number of workers who are unvaccinated and report that data to state authorities.

freeimages.com/Mark Csabai

A child under 4 years old has died of the flu in Monroe County, becoming the first fatality of this year's flu season.

The death, reported in the county's weekly flu surveillance information, happened sometime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 19.

County public health commissioner Michael Mendoza confirmed the death, but said the county cannot share any more information about the child.

Flu season is usually most active from November through April, but this year, doctors said, it's arrived early.

The flu virus is still around, but the numbers are definitely on the decline.

The latest numbers just out from the Monroe County Health Department are for the week ending April 27.  They show 21 deaths so far this flu season, compared to 19 at this time last year.

Most of the deaths involve people 65 and over.

But the other numbers show a lot more activity last year, in what was generally recognized as a bad flu season, compared to his year.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Dr. Michael Shaw; Doug Jordan, M.A.


The flu is still widespread in New York and 10 other states, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

That means the disease is infecting people in a broad geographic area. It’s unusual for so many states to still have widespread flu this late into the year, health officials said.

“This has been a long season across the country,” said Ed Walsh, chief of Rochester General Hospital’s infectious disease group. “The flu won’t quit. It just keeps going.”


The latest weekly numbers on the flu in Monroe County show an increase in confirmed cases, but the number of new cases continues to decline.

The number of deaths so far this flu season rose by one in the latest weekly figures, up to 17.

The figures are as of April 6, and they show that there have been 5,461 confirmed cases of flu in Monroe County, up about 450 from the previous week. Hospitalizations also rose.