Source: Boston Herald
By: McConville, Christine
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has declared a citywide public health emergency in the midst of an influenza outbreak that has seen about 700 confirmed cases of flu in the city since October. The emergency was declared after public health officials reported a tenfold increase in confirmed flu-related hospitalizations this flu season compared to the 2010-2011 season. Menino noted that the number of cases is about 10 times higher than the total number recorded last year. Community health centers in Boston will stay open longer this weekend to provide free flu shots, and he asked people who are sick or feverish to stay home from work or school. “We all have to take care of each other and work together,” Menino said. “The best thing you can do to protect you and your family is to get the flu shot.” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also called on residents to get vaccinated against the flu. He added, “Wash your hands, cough into your elbows, some of the basic practices that help reduce the risk.” The state has recorded at least 18 flu-related deaths since October.