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Does Oregon's Flu Report Have Holes?

Last week, hospitals around Oregon started restricting visitors because of the flu.

But the first line of the state's weekly flu report says flu activity is "minimal."

Oregon's flu activity level is determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's based on the proportion of visitors who have flu-like symptoms at 25 Oregon hospitals.

Dr. Ann Thomas with the Oregon Health Authority admits that first line is somewhat misleading, but she says, the rest of the report paints a fuller picture.

"We do track the percentage of Emergency Department visits for patients who have influenza-like illnesses, and that's over three percent and that's more typical of what we see at the height of flu season," said Thomas.

"And then the other things is we track hospitalizations in the tri-county area and those numbers have also been trending up. We've had over 60 hospitalizations in the last few weeks."

A spokesman from Legacy Health System says it's hesitated to implement visitor restrictions in past years, but decided not to wait this year, because of CDC warnings of an epidemic.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting