11 flu-related deaths reported at Portland-area hospitals

PORTLAND, Ore. -- As of Wednesday, at least 11 people had died from the flu virus at Portland metro area hospitals.

Hospital officials at Legacy, OHSU, Providence and Kaiser confirmed the 11 patients who died in Oregon all tested positive for the influenza flu virus.

The flu has been "widespread" in both Oregon and Washington since late December, meaning you can go into almost any community and find the flu somewhere.

19 people died from the flu across the state of Washington between the first week of December and Jan. 11.

"Most of the deaths have been over fifty," said Marqise Allen, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Health. "There have been a few who have been slightly younger."

In Oregon, at least one child has died of the virus.

Many flu patients never get tested for the virus. According to state public health officials, any count of flu-related deaths based on lab tests is therefore a low estimate.

Ann Thomas, public health physician for the Oregon Public Health Division, said Wednesday doctors expect the flu will be circulating for several more weeks.

Public health officials from both states say it is not too late to get the flu vaccine, although it does take about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

This year's version includes the common H1N1 flu strain causing most of this season's illnesses.