Dec 20, 2012 4:23 PM by Eric Ross
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state's top health official is calling on Rhode Islanders to get immunized against influenza as the number of hospitalizations for it has risen.
Department of Health Director Michael Fine says the state has seen a steady increase in those admitted to the hospital for the flu. He says about nine percent of emergency room visits in the past week have been for flu-like illness.
He says he expects the number of cases to rise in the coming weeks and that it's not too late to get vaccinated. Shots are available at doctor's offices and at community flu clinics. Newport and Coventry are holding clinics Thursday.
Fine has declared that influenza is widespread in the state. Health care workers who haven't been vaccinated must wear masks when dealing with patients.