Weekly ER visits in Boston due to flu-like symptoms, week ending 12/29. Source: BPHC.
Mayor Menino made the declaration this morning based on 700 flu confirmed flu cases - compared to 70 confirmed flu cases all of last winter. Four people, all seniors, have died.
Aside from increasing efforts to get people vaccinated, the declaration is a recognition that local hospitals are now near or at capacity due to an influx of people with flu-like symptoms.
The city plans to stock community-health centers with flu vaccine and open them this weekend to provide free doses to Boston residents. See the schedule. For more details, contact the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 9 am. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or the Mayor's 24-hour Hotline at 617-635-4500 after hours.