BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The number of flu cases are on the rise in Western New York. According to the Erie County Health Department, there was a flu-related pediatric death Saturday in Erie County.
On Monday morning, News 4 learned Luca Calanni was the person who died this past Saturday.
Calanni was a student at Pinehurst Elementary School in Lake View.
Here is a statement released by the Frontier Central School District:
“Over the weekend, Frontier lost one of its young Falcons. As has been reported by many news outlets, Luca Calanni passed away Saturday after complications from the flu. He was a wonderful young man that positively impacted all those around him. Social workers and counselors will be available at all buildings, with an especially heavy presence at Pinehurst to assist both students and staff.
We have received numerous calls from local media for a comment, including questions about the flu. Our top-notch nursing staff will act as a point of contact for any information parents request regarding the flu including handouts on flu facts. During this extremely difficult time, we ask for privacy for our Falcons and for Luca’s family.”Frontier CSD
Calanni’s family is accepting visitors at Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home (4199 Lake Shore Rd., Hamburg) this Friday from 2-8 p.m.
A Mass of Christian burial will take place Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Athol Springs.
There have been more than 700 cases in the last two weeks in Erie County. This time last year, there were 100 cases.
Doctor Joseph Chow says it’s unclear why more people are getting the flu now.
“Typically a flu season can start as early as October and can go as late as May so anything in-between is really in fair game,” Chow said. “We are seeing a rise right now in the early mid-winter.”
Hospitals across Western New York are seeing a rise in flu cases earlier than usual. Doctor Chow says doctors are also seeing more patients with the flu B strain. This strain typically effects younger adults and children.
“But both can have similar symptoms and both can be deadly, it’s just different strains essentially but still causing similar things,” Doctor Chow said.
Both the A and B viruses have similar symptoms of body aches, fever and fatigue.
“There are certain categories of people out there that are going to be effected more, elderly, the very young, ones with chronic medical conditions,” Doctor Chow said. “When those seasons hit when the strain is stronger, essentially you get more of the hospitalizations and deaths by flu.”
To prevent the flu from spreading this season, people stopped by the Walmart on Waldon Ave to get their flu shot.
“It’s very important to be proactive and not wait until you’re sick,” said Walmart Pharmacist Jane Ringle.
Ringle said the Wellness Clinic gives people the extra motivation they might need.
“It’s much more convenient for the patient other than having to go to a doctor’s office, make an appointment, it’s usually a three hour process,” Ringle said. “Here you can walk in, usually in about 10 minutes, you sign up, it’s paid for, you get your shot and you can walk out.”
Doctor Chow says the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot, and by following these tips.
“Really just health maintenance from a stand point of just wash your hands very frequently, if you’re going to cough, cough into your sleeve if you have fevers or if you’re ill stay home call your doctor,” Chow said. “So pretty similar things, get plenty of rest eat well because even though there’s variations in the flu each year a lot of the same things we’re saying to prevent it are still true today.”