ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota health officials are reporting a surge in flu outbreaks at schools and long-term care facilities.

Through the end of last week, 203 new schools reported outbreaks, compared with 19 the previous week. That raised the number of Minnesota schools reporting outbreaks this season to 271.

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Epidemiologist Brad Krier of the Minnesota Department of Health says they haven’t seen that level of flu activity since the 2009 pandemic.

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The department on Thursday also reported 60 hospitalized flu patients last week. That was down from 123 a week earlier, but raised the season total of hospitalized cases to 309. Two pediatric deaths from influenza have been reported this season.

Several Minnesota hospitals have imposed restrictions on visitors to reduce the exposure of their patients and employees to influenza.

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