20 New Deaths Associated With Flu Reported in Connecticut: DPH

There have been 20 more deaths associated with the flu reported in Connecticut, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) said in its weekly report.

There have been 52 deaths attributed to the flu since Aug. 27, 2017, to Jan. 27, 2018. Between the same time period, a total of 1,154 patients have been hospitalized because of the flu.

Of the deaths so far reported, 44 were patients over the age of 65, four were between 50 and 64 years old, three were between 52 and 49 years old and one child was between 5 and 17 years old.

A Waterbury woman died on Friday and her family said it was from the flu.

"I never thought twice about the flu," Jennifer Forget said.

The woman said her mom, Cecilia Forget, started to not feel well but that it didn't raise any alarms because her symptoms were not severe.

"Just cold-like symptoms, a cough, the chills, a little bit of dizziness. She never knew she had the flu," Cecilia Forget's twin sister, Carol Lokites, said.

Forget's family said the 63-year-old was healthy, exercised and had her flu shot. Her daughter said she was sick for about a week when suddenly Forget took a turn for the worse.

"She called me at 2:45 in the morning on Friday and I ran in her room," Jennifer Forget said. "She was just gasping for air. She couldn't talk. I called 911 right away."

The daughter said while they were in the ambulance, her mother went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after.

"My mom was sick with what we thought was a cold and she's gone and there's nothing I can do to fix it. I just want people to know that it's serious," said Forget.

Through their grief, Forget's family said they want their story to be a warning to others and for people to take precautions. They hope that by speaking out they can help another family avoid the pain they're going through.

"See a doctor if you have chills or fever. Don't take this lightly. This can happen to anyone, and if we can save one life, it was worth it," Lokites said.

"My mom was the best mom anyone could ever ask for," Jennifer Forget said. "I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, and I want people to know that it's really serious."

Flu activity in the state remains high and widespread and officials encourage residents to get a flu shot. Officials warn that peak flu season could still be several weeks away.

"With the peak of flu season potentially still several weeks away, it is still not too late to get a flu shot," DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said. "However, it takes two weeks from the time of the shot to develop the antibodies needed to fight the flu, so I urge anyone who has not received a flu shot to do it as soon as possible in order to be fully protected for the remainder of this season."

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