The seasonal flu continues to sicken hundreds around the local area. The Department of Health’s Kris Ehresman says that cases of the flu in south-central Minnesota are much higher than other regions of the state. She says that the number of hospitalizations relative to the area’s population is greater than elsewhere in Minnesota, and the numbers reflect that. Nearly 600 people have been hospitalized for influenza around the state so far this season, and five have died from flu-related complications. New Ulm Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Joan Krikava says that the flu outbreak seems to be centered around New Ulm and Mankato. She says they are seeing 50 to 100 extra patients in the clinic and hospital, about double the number of patients they normally see in a day. And half of the patients in the hospital have influenza. Numerous area hospitals have imposed restrictions on visitors due to the flu outbreak, including in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Madelia, Springfield, St. James, Mankato, Fairmont, New Prague and Waseca.