PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The state of Rhode Island is seeing its worst flu season in years, and health officials can't stress the importance of vaccinations enough.
So far, there have been 329 hospitalizations in Rhode Island for the flu, about 30 of those in children. According to Dr. Fine, that is two to three times the number Rhode Island saw at this time last year.
"The virus changes year by year, but history is always a guide. Usually our flu outbreak is six to eight weeks, and we're almost at exactly four weeks into it. So, we expect to see the downward curve happening any day now," he said.
In early December, Dr. Fine issued a statewide flu warning , which requires all health care workers that have not been immunized to wear a surgical mask when dealing with patients.
There are a number of ways to prevent the spread of influenza , the most important of which is getting immunized.
Influenza is undoubtedly present in Southern New England, and Dr. Fine said he expects it to only get worse.
"We anticipate that we'll end up with three to four times of hospitalizations than we had last year."
The spread of the illness is not just a problem locally, as health officials nationwide are reporting a severe outlook. On Friday, the Center for Disease Control said that in the last week of December, flu was widespread in 41 states, and the number of flu-related child deaths rose to 18.
Aside from getting immunized, Dr. Fine suggests basic prevention techniques such as washing your hands regularly and wipe down commonly-used surfaces with disinfectant.
Copyright WPRI 12
A gas leak in Pawtucket is under control after a gas line break on Waltham Street early Tuesday afternoon.
Just more than two weeks away from Christmas Day, a local group is taking a new stand to encourage local government to simply call that upcoming Wednesday December twenty-fifth.
Rhode Island Lottery officials say a pair of local residents recently won a total of $48,000.
Superintendents across the state say student's safety is most important.
ALERT: RIDOT is urging drivers to take is easy on the roads Tuesday night after a light snow may cause ice on roadways.