The Minnesota Department of Health is reporting a big spike in influenza activity across the state. The latest update shows 71 flu-related hospitalizations over the past week, nearly double the number from the previous week, and a total of 189 hospitalizations now this flu season. Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz says there are a few simple ways to help prevent the flu from spreading, including washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, and keeping surfaces clean of germs. There was one flu outbreak in nursing homes in Minnesota over the past week, and zero school outbreaks, likely due to the holiday break. The spread of influenza in our state has now been labeled as “Widespread.” There have been no flu-related deaths confirmed in Minnesota so far this flu season.