St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Just in time for the holidays, Minnesota health officials are reporting a significant increase in flu activity throughout the state.

The State Department of Health, in its weekly report on flu activity, has raised its rating of the activity from regional to widespread this week. The report notes the department has received reports of 3 additional flu-related deaths in Minnesota this season, raising the total since the start of the season to 6.

The Department of Health received 61 reports of hospitalizations due to flu-related complications last week. That is the highest weekly total of the season and pushed the total number of reported flu-related hospitalizations since the start of the season above 260. That is running ahead of the pace set during the previous flu season when the total number of hospitalizations was just over 2500 at the end of the season.

There was a surge in probable outbreaks reported in Minnesota schools last week. The preliminary total now stands at 60, which is almost half of the total of the season and is far above the 14 outbreaks reported the previous week.

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