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The flu has returned to Pennsylvania

The state is up to more than 8,000 confirmed cases of influenza.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Flu cases are on the rise in the Keystone State.

Doctors at Lehigh Valley Hospital Pocono in East Stroudsburg tell us there are more than 100 confirmed cases here in Monroe County.

"This year, we are already seeing a surge in influenza. It looks like this year, Type A is the most predominant one we are seeing. It started early this year, even for a regular year without COVID. A lot of times, we don't see it until January or February, but it's already started showing itself several weeks ago," Doctor Goldner said.

It's the beginning of the flu season, and the state is up to more than 8,000 confirmed cases of influenza.

Last year, there were only 3,600 confirmed cases throughout the entire flu season.

Looking at the data for our viewing area, there are already around 1,000 cases of the flu around here.

Doctor Jonathan Goldner says COVID-19 related safety measures like working and schooling remotely, mask-wearing, and social distancing helped keep flu numbers down last year. 

Another possible reason for the increase in flu? Doctors say flu vaccination numbers are down this year, too. 

"I think a lot of people are just tired of getting vaccinated, perhaps. I really don't know. We are not seeing the robust numbers we had been seeing coming in for flu vaccine," said Doctor Goldner.

Spotting the difference between flu and COVID is also tricky, so doctors suggest getting tested.

"COVID could look like flu, and flu look like COVID. They are both viruses. It's really difficult. They both have a lot of the same symptoms," Doctor Goldner said. "They could be cold-like symptoms but also GI stuff like nausea and vomiting, sometimes diarrhea with the flu. But we can also see that with COVID as well. Usually, what we tell our practitioners if you're testing for COVID, test for flu."

Flu season runs through May in the state.

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