Riley County health officials say cases of the flu are presenting earlier this year than any of the past 13 years.

The health department noted in a Facebook post Monday that data so far indicates the 2022 flu season will be severe, based on indicators from across the globe, including Australia, where a lot of H3N2 flu cases have already been seen. This strain is particularly concerning to elderly individuals and young children.

As flu comes into focus, the health department also warns that COVID-19 cases remain a high concern as the county is back in the substantial incidence rating, according data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The health department continues to urge that vaccinations against COVID and the flu are the most effective tools to prevent virus spread.

A total of 66 new COVID cases were reported in Riley County between Nov. 12 and Nov. 18. The health department noted five positive patients were being treated for COVID at Ascension Via Christi Monday.