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Alabama (WHNT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) says the state is grappling with unusually high levels of flu activity so far this fall.

“This is the highest flu activity that we have seen this early in the season since the 2009 Influenza A/H1N1 pandemic,” APDH District Medical Officer Wes Stubblefield.

The Tennesee Valley has not been safe from people getting sick over the last several weeks.

Since late October, several local schools have sent students home for virtual learning because of flu and RSV.

Decatur City Schools shut down Austinville Elementary School on Oct 24, when roughly 100 students were out sick. Students remained on virtual learning for several days until numbers began to lower.

Lincoln County Schools in Tennessee also closed down for a day on Oct. 28 citing illness among both students and staff.

The next week both Marshall County and Albertville City Schools announced they would also shut down for illness.

Albertville schools released early on Nov. 3 and used the next day as an e-learning day.

Marshall County, on the other hand, announced that it would go virtual from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10 because of illness.

The rest of the state has seen similar issues. Dr. Michee Kong, Pediatric Critical Care Research Program Director at Children’s of Alabama, said the hospital has seen a surge of flu cases.

“In the last few weeks, Children’s of Alabama has seen a surge of admissions with children who are critically ill from influenza and associated complications,” Kong said.  “These have included those patients who have required ventilation and some so severe that ECMO (heart-lung-bypass) support was needed. We urge families to take the flu virus seriously and to ensure that their children and adolescents are protected.”

Health officials say people can take precautions against the flu by washing their hands thoroughly, wearing a mask in crowded environments or when around someone who is sick and getting a regular flu vaccination.