Not so fast, officials at Southcoast Health are warning that the flu may have not yet peaked here on the Southcoast.

The numbers in this graph are striking.  They track the number of confirmed cases of the flu here in the Southcoast.  The numbers over the past couple of weeks are certainly alarming. 

Looking at week 19, you can see the number skyrocketed from the 130's all the way up to 339.

Dr. Robert Caldas, the Chief Medical Officer at Southcoast Health says he can't stress it enough...wash your hands. He instructs his medical staff to, "Gel In, Gel Out...it's a simple thing we can do to protect our patients and each other," referring to the Purell stations located outside of each exam room.

You'll find similar hand sanitizer stations here in the hallways here at our studios.

Southcoast Health stresses that although all of us are at risk of catching the flu, it can be more harmful to certain groups of people. People between 6 months and 18 years and people older than 50 are particularly at risk, along with people living in long-term health care settings, and people with chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma.  Southcoast says these flu numbers are the worst we've seen in close to 10 years.

Dr. Deborah Hylander of Southcoast Health had this to say, "Even though this year’s flu season is more robust than the last couple of years, we are actually at a point in time that is earlier than when the flu peaked the for past 2 years- our peak may be yet to come, based on continued, strong activity... We can reasonably expect continued high activity in the very near future with an eventual waning of cases."

Have we reached the peak of this flu season?  Not so fast. "Although the number of cases is less this past week at Southcoast, we had to target testing for 24-36 hours awaiting shipment of flu kits, so the number may be a bit off."

Additional Reporting by Michael DeSouza