In one indicator of a worsening season, the CDC reported seven pediatric flu deaths.
Though Chen says this year's flu shot is weaker than in years past, but says that shouldn't mean a person doesn't get it.
Ohio's flu incidence has been widespread for weeks and is accelerating, with 1,750 new hospitalizations just last week.
But the severity of this flu season isn't expected to be quite as bad as the 2014-15 season, during which vaccine effectiveness was very low and there were about 700,000 hospitalizations.
Parkland Hospital in Dallas has seen nearly 1,000 people coming to their emergency department seeking treatment.
A spokesman for Riverside Health System did not respond to multiple requests for comment, however, Riverside is offering free flu vaccinations for people 14-years-old and older on a first come, first served basis while vaccine supplies last, according to its website. Wake Forest Baptist, Cone Health, and Novant Health put in visitor restrictions for the rest of the flu season.
Safranek recommended people seek a doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics if they get the flu.
Doctors also say research suggests that even if the vaccine doesn't prevent someone from getting the flu, it could help lessen the symptoms. "I don't know if he got the flu vaccine".
Flu kills four people in Rock Island County
On Monday January 15, anyone showing flu symptoms, or under the age of 12 years will have visitor limitations at St. Cynthia Snider, an infectious disease with Cone Health. "In worst case scenarios, it can put you in the hospital".
Tarrant County reports its first 3 flu deaths
That's why getting the flu vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older. Local ER departments and outpatient clinics are also seeing very high volumes of patients, health officials said.