A deadly flu epidemic sweeping the nation has triggered one Texas school district to cancel classes for the week and one California hospital has set up a triage tent outside an emergency room for flu patients. Brammer said this flu season is on par with the 2014-2015 season, when more than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and nearly 130 died. California has been the hardest hit state with at least 42 people under the age of 65 dying from flu-related symptoms, according the the state’s public health department.
At least 3,269 people in the state have tested positive for the flu, the agency reported. Even otherwise healthy people, across age groups, have succumbed to this year’s flu. Katie Oxley Thomas, a 40-year-old mother of three and a marathon runner from San Jose, California, died 15 hours after being admitted to an emergency room with influenza, her family told ABC station KGO in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I know that she could hear us and we’re saying, ‘Katie you can fight this, you can beat it,'” said Thomas’ stepmother, Adrienne Oxley. She said the family had a hard time accepting that she died from the illness. “We just didn’t believe it,” Oxley said. “We were in total shock. It’s still hard to believe.” Nico Mallozzi, 10, of New Canaan, Connecticut, died Sunday after his family took him to a hospital to be treated for flu symptoms while he was at a hockey tournament in Buffalo, New York. “Nico was a very lively, vibrant, spirited kid,” Bryan Luizzi, superintendent of the New Canaan Public School District, told ABC News. At Loma Linda Medical Center in San Bernardino Count, California, the medical staff has erected a triage tent outside the emergency room to handle the influx of flu patients. In Texas, the influenza outbreak is so severe that the Bonham Independent School District, which has about 2,000 students, canceled classes through Tuesday. “As the number of confirmed cases of influenza grows, it is important to increase health and safety protocols for each campus, including disinfection of all buses and spaces,” the school district wrote in a letter to parents. “Local health officials have recommended a full seven days to stop the cycle of spreading influenza.” The flu epidemic is also taking a toll on the nation’s blood supply.