St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The return of Minnesota students to school following the winter break soon resulted in classrooms filled with the sounds of sneezes and coughing.

The latest update on the flu season from the Minnesota Department of Health shows there was a huge surge in the number of schools reporting probable flu outbreaks during the week that ended January 12th. The tally went from 4 the previous week to 72 at the end of last week. The number of confirmed influenza outbreaks in Minnesota nursing homes and other long-term care facilities rose from 23 to 36 during the same time span.

There was one positive statistic to report. Preliminary figures show the number of flu-related hospitalizations dropped from over 650 the previous week to 420 last week.

Overall flu activity in Minnesota remained classified as widespread as a rather virulent strain of influenza that falls outside the protections offered by this year’s flu vaccine is making the rounds throughout the U.S.

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