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Six Duluth deaths associated with H1N1
SMDC officials confirmed that five of the six dead were adults while one was a child.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Debbie Walczynski of her son’s death last week following a bout with the H1N1 flu.
Matthew James Walczynski, 32, of Duluth came home from work Friday, Nov. 6, running a fever of 103.8 degrees and went straight to bed, according to his mother. Ten days later he was dead.
He’s one of six people who have died in recent weeks at SMDC Medical Center in Duluth due to flu-related ailments
, even as the number of flu patients has dropped across the Northland. Walczynski, a quality analyst for Optium Health, was the only one of the six who didn’t have an underlying health condition before he came down with the flu, SMDC officials said.
SMDC officials confirmed today that five of the six dead were adults while one was a child. All the flu-associated deaths occurred in November and come a month after new flu cases peaked in the region and nationally.
“The majority have been in the 18 to 64 age group with chronic medical conditions,’’ said Beth Johnson, SMDC spokeswoman.
But Matthew Walczynski had no prior history of health problems, according to his mother.
It’s possible that because of other health factors the Minnesota Department of Health may not classify all six of the Duluth fatalities as officially caused by the H1N1 novel virus, Johnson noted.
No flu deaths occurred at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth during the week of Nov. 7-14. Statewide statistics for the past week will be released Tuesday.
Through Nov. 14, the most recent statistics available, there have been 26 confirmed H1N1-related deaths in Minnesota since the recent outbreak began in September, and another two deaths likely H1N1.
Across St. Louis County there have been 74 cases of H1N1 hospitalizations since September, county health department officials said.
.... the good news .....
But the number of newly confirmed cases of H1N1 in Minnesota has crashed in recent weeks across the state, from 420 during the peak week in mid-October to fewer than 100 in the week ending Nov. 14. That number was expected to drop even more in numbers to be released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health.
And the number of new outbreaks of flu-like symptoms in schools has fallen off the charts, from nearly 300 schools in mid-October to just nine new reports last week.
Dr. Linda Van Etta, St. Luke’s Hospital flu expert, said office, urgent-care and emergency-room visits for flu-like symptoms have declined dramatically here at home and across the U.S.
“And we’re not seeing any new hospital admissions from the flu now,’’ she said. “That’s not to say people aren’t being affected by the flu. But it appears this second wave is showing signs of slowing.”