Staff reports

Flu twice as deadly as last year

New cases of influenza inched up again in Kentucky during the week ending Feb. 1, and eight more adults in the state have died from the virus. So far, 41 Kentuckians have died from the flu this season, three younger than 18, according to the state Department for Public Health.

The latest weekly report shows Kentucky counted 1,815 new cases, a slight increase from the 1,739 reported the previous week. During this flu season, 15,102 cases have been reported in Kentucky, but only two in Lyon County and eight in the five-county Pennyrile health district. The actual number is higher because not all flu cases are counted; flu does not have to be reported.

The latest numbers show that the flu is at least twice as bad as it was last year at this time, when there were 7,285 confirmed cases of the flu, and 21 deaths, one under the age of 18.

Health officials recommend that everyone older than 6 months get an annual flu vaccination. It is not too late, since the season usually runs through May.

Kentucky worst for child abuse

Kentucky's new attorney general has declared a commitment to partner with child-advocacy organizations and state and federal prosecutors to prevent child abuse, and to prosecute abusers to the fullest extent of the law.

"We are No. 1 in child abuse and neglect, and that has to stop, especially as we move into the new decade," Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a recent news conference with Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA). Kentucky has ranked first or second for each of the past six years for child maltreatment, Deborah Yetter reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. She also reports that some cases were so severe an independent panel has classified them as "torture."

In 2017, Kentucky reported 16 deaths and 56 near-deaths of children from abuse or neglect. In 2018, 24,066 Kentucky children were victims of abuse or neglect, KYA said in a news release.

Organ donation registration now online

An all-new online registration portal to register for organ and tissue donation in Kentucky now live at the Kentucky Online Gateway at kog.chfs.ky.gov.

The new online registration - the result of Senate Bill 77 signed into law last year - is an easy and secure process that enables residents to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. The Kentucky Online Gateway is designed to keep residents' data safe. It allows them to connect to the business applications they frequently use efficiently.

"We are thrilled that this new online channel for Kentuckians to register as donors is now available," said Shelley Snyder, executive director or Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks' Trust for Life and vice president of strategic partnerships Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. "It gives further hope to the more than 113,000 women, men, and children awaiting life-saving organ and tissue transplants throughout the Commonwealth."