The number of flu deaths in Oklahoma jumped by six in one week, according to data released Thursday by the Oklahoma Department of Health.
On Thursday, January 3, only two influenza deaths had been reported. For the week ending January 8, the OSDH reports eight flu-related deaths.
Three of those death have occurred in Tulsa County; one more from a week ago.
The other deaths occurred in Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg and Rogers counties. Each county recorded one influenza death from January 2-January 8.
The data does not say if the deaths were male or female, but it shows four were between the ages of 19-64 and the rest were 65 or older.
The flu is widespread already in more than 40 states. The flu season usually doesn't blanket the country until late January or February, but it hit Owasso resident Shirley High's son, Jason, and hit him hard.
"It's hitting pretty fast. When it hits you, it knocks you quick," High said.
At least Jason is recovering at home.
The OSDH has seen 345 hospitalized cases of flu since September 30, 2012. Ninety-two of those cases were reported January 2-January 8, 2013.
In Kiefer, in Creek County, schools are cancelled for Friday.
School leaders say 20 to 25 percent of students have the flu, and they don't want to take a chance of it spreading.
High said she thinks that's a good idea.
"They need to take it seriously, because it wipes you out," she said.
High said her son hasn't been sick in ten years, but this strain of flu bug is not one to mess with.
"If it takes him out, it's going to take some strong people out," she said.
OSDH data shows since September 30, Tulsa County has had 115 people admitted to the hospital because of influenza. Oklahoma County has had 43 cases.
Latimer, Nowata and Ottawa counties have each had one case of someone in the hospital because of the flu. Adair, McIntosh, Pawnee, Sequoyah and Washington counties have had two cases. Cherokee County has had three cases since September 30, and Osage County has had four. Muskogee and Wagoner counties have had five cases, followed by six in Pittsburg County and seven in Okmulgee County.
Rogers County has reported 11 cases in the past week and Creek County, 17 cases.