State and local health officials are encouraging preventive measures as we're seeing elevated flu activity across New York.

State Health Department officials sent a warning to schools saying reports of influenza this spring are higher than previous years. More than 5,600 hospitalizations have been reported statewide and more than 50% of all laboratory-confirmed cases occurring in people 17-years or younger, while 42% of the people hospitalized with the flu are 65-years or older.

While flu season is almost over, Erie County Health Officials urge residents to get the flu vaccine.

"NYSDOH data on reported flu cases typically show a steady decline throughout the spring season,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. "This year, spring reports of influenza are higher than in previous years, and this increase in reports follows a decrease at the tail end of winter. Flu is still circulating here in Erie County. Despite being near the end of a typical flu season, a flu vaccine may still reduce the risk of severe illness. Flu symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms, and the preventive measures are also similar."

Additionally, state authorities say to reduce risk in schools and other settings, people should follow preventive measures like staying home when sick, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth, clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.

According to the CDC, New York is seeing some of the highest flu activity in the country, along with New Mexico, Florida, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.