Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The national flu outbreak that has been plaguing communities across the country has become even more deadly.
27 people have died in Minnesota due to the influenza outbreak, according to new numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health. Six of those deaths were at two Duluth hospitals.
Essentia Health - St. Mary's spokesperson Kim Kasier confirms five flu-related deaths at the hospital.
Kasier said the hospital is on high alert as they've been carefully monitoring bed availability, staffing levels and medical supplies.
The hospital has been operating at full or near-full capacity for the past week partly due to flu patients. Officials say critical care beds are in short supply.
St. Luke's hospital officials confirm one death related to influenza.
According to data released Thursday from the Minnesota Department of Health, a total of 1,121 cases of the flu have been confirmed across the state.
138 schools across the state have confirmed a flu outbreak among their students.
Health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot to combat the severity of this season, especially since this year's vaccine is a very good match to the strain that is spreading across the country.
Here in Duluth, Essentia Health has re-opened its walk-in flu booth in order to keep up with the high demand for the vaccine.
Flu shots will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on January 11th, 17th and 18th in the lobby of the Essentia Health Duluth Clinic.
No appointment is necessary for the flu booth.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns / Kevin Jacobsen