By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, there is some promising health news when it comes to the flu. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says they are seeing a lower number of cases than usual for this time of year.

(credit: CBS)

“So far it’s been very mild. We have seen very few flu cases, very few hospitalizations if any, I don’t even know if we have had a hospitalization from flu yet,” said Michelle Barron, Senior Medical Director of infection of prevention at UCHealth.

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She says it has been noticeably different than years past.

“Not seeing any yet is unusual, but I’ll take it,” she laughed.

According to the latest flu report from the CDPHE, there have been 12 hospitalizations from the flu so far this year; this time last year that number had climbed to more than 300. Of more than 3,000 flu tests conducted this week, only two have come back positive.

Marty O’Bryan, an emergency room doctor at Swedish Medical Center, says they are seeing similar numbers.

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“They have all been negative so far, but that’s going to change,” he said.

Peak flu season is still a few months away but even then, Barron says continued COVID-19 precautions like masks and social distancing will likely slow the spread.

“Also, people are working from home, if you’re in an office there’s cookies and candy and all the stuff people are getting their hands in,” she said.

Having fewer cases also means good news for health care workers who are doing their best to keep space open for COVID-19 cases.

“Maybe getting closer to getting over the COVID-19 pandemic but not having to manage flu on top of it, we will all take it,” Barron said.

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(credit: CBS)

CDPHE says they have also seen a nearly 20% increase in flu vaccinations this time of year compared to last, however considering flu season lasts through April, they say there is still time to get a flu shot.

Karen Morfitt