LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The flu continues to affect life in Arkansas, despite its impact rating lowering compared to earlier in the season.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports that the state had seven additional deaths for the week ending Jan. 21, moving the total to 129 for the current flu season.

Arkansas was rated as “Low” for flu activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the second week in a row. It had been ranked “High” for several weeks before the week ending Jan. 14.

ADH reports 20,500 positive flu tests for the 2022-2023 season. This number is only a portion of actual flu cases in the state due to reporting requirements, the agency said.

Emergency room and outpatient visits for flu were at 2% for the week, ADH reported. Officials said flu outbreaks have taken place in 20 Arkansas nursing homes and the state had a 7.4% school absentee rate.

The CDC has recorded 25 million illnesses, 270,000 hospitalizations and 17,000 flu deaths nationally for the current season. The death rate is above the epidemic threshold set by the agency.