LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Flu death rates have risen above the previous season’s level as Arkansas continues to be affected.

In its weekly flu report issued Wednesday for the week ending Dec. 2, the Arkansas Department of Health said the state is ranked “very high” for flu activity levels reported to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arkansas is ranked 12 on the CDC’s 13-point scale.

The ADH now reports 45 flu-related deaths, including one pediatric death, up from 30 deaths in last week’s report. Of the flu deaths, 73% were unvaccinated, the ADH report said.

An ADH spokesperson said that the previous flu season had 30 flu-related deaths in the state.

Since Oct. 2, the state has recorded 14,200 cases of the flu. The ADH report points out that this number is only a portion of flu cases since it only reports flu-related hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks.

The ADH also reports that 7% of the state’s emergency room and outpatient visits were for influenza-like illnesses.

The ADH tracking shows that schools have a 7.5% absenteeism rate for the week. Currently 16 nursing homes and other institutions are reporting outbreaks, up from last week’s 13 by the ADH reporting.

The ADH provides walk-in flu shots at its local health units throughout the state.