SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - When it comes to the flu and how widespread it's been this season, Georgia is now ranked the sickest state with South Carolina coming in at a close second.
There have been 51 deaths in Georgia with 11 of those here in our area - within 100 miles of each other. All of them are people ages 50 and older.
"It's not too late. We have not peaked in the flu season," said Tammi Brown. "We still have several weeks left to go. We have plenty of vaccine on hand so we just encourage everyone, if they have not come in, to please make it a point to come in and get the vaccine."
This week, we received numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health, and eight of those deaths were in Chatham County. Two were in Glynn County and one was in Effingham. It's unknown if those victims had gotten a flu shot or not.
"In the research I've done, it seems to be that the flu is actually not the actual cause of the mortalities. It's the flu is almost over and then there is sepsis or pneumonia," said John Mahan, Director of Nursing, Savannah Square.
We spoke to a senior living home on Friday and learned that it's not always just the flu that triggers death in elderly people when they do get sick.
"The older we get, the more health conditions we have," Mahan said. "The more health conditions, the more likely we are to suffer comorbidity and issues like a simple flu or cold, you and I could rebound in a week or two, but if you're 65, 67 and have heart disease or any other underlying issues, you're gonna have a much harder time recouping from something that directly affects the respiratory system."
Savannah Square says they hadn't had any flu cases at their senior living home and when they notice someone with possible symptoms, they make it a team effort to keep everyone else safe. They also take other precautionary measures at their facility.
"Reducing the amount of people touching salt shakers, pepper shakers, knives, forks, plates; we will go all disposable."
Mahan also says that if they have many confirmed cases, they will even go so far as to prevent visitors from bringing any outside food into the facility in order to keep the elderly safe from other peoples' germs.