WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Country is facing a spike in flu cases, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has declared flu activity to be high nationwide.

In New York, there have been over 41 thousand cases of the high-contagious flu confirmed this season, according to the Department of Health. The virus is mainly spread by coughing, sneezing, or close contact.

Although anyone is susceptible to the virus, young children and older adults are at the highest risk of getting the flu.

Flu cases in Jefferson County have also recently skyrocketed, with 208 logged in the last week of November and leading the county to have the second-highest case rate in the Central New York region.

However, local providers and practices purchased new machines during the pandemic to test for respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19 and the flu.

Public Health believes that more cases have been identified this year through enhanced testing capabilities.

“So we’re seeing an increase in our flu cases that pretty much goes along with the rest of the state as an epidemiological curve, it’s like the same rate of increase. It’s just we have more cases that our neighboring counties. We think that is because of testing.”

Across the state, most cases identified have been Influenza Type A.

Although flu cases are mimicking pre-pandemic levels, JCPHS said the spike is happening much earlier compared to the 2019 and 2021 flu seasons, which could lead to a larger outbreak following the holidays.

“We’re seeing that curve going up pretty steadily,” Lustik explained. “We haven’t had more cases than the ’21-’22 season, it’s about the same as that, it’s just much earlier. So we have to wait for more time to go by to know if this indeed is going to be a worse season.”

Flu season starts in the fall and usually peaks in February, however, it can continue through May.

Public Health recommends getting the annual flu shot to prevent getting or spreading the flu. The flu vaccine is offered at healthcare providers’ offices, clinics and pharmacies.