In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Credit: LM Otero / AP

While the state is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, influenza cases are also on the rise.

The state reported more than 700 positive cases of influenza last week, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah.

That’s the highest number of cases since March 2020, and more than double the number of cases reported throughout the entire 2020-2021 flu season, when 215 positive cases were reported.

The state has investigated nine outbreaks and 17 people were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in the past week. Visits for flu-like symptoms make up 3.4 percent of outpatient visits, according to Shah.

In 2020, Maine reported 237 deaths from influenza or pneumonia with 11.5 deaths per a population of 100,000, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza infections can be treated with antiviral medications that can seriously decrease the risk of complications. The risk of getting influenza can be reduced by properly washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough and getting vaccinated.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.