ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Health says nine more people have died from the flu, bringing the total number of deaths from the influenza virus this season to 136.

Each week, the Department of Health releases new statistics about how the flu is affecting the state.

In the past week, 72 people in Minnesota were hospitalized with the flu. Three long-term care facilities and 22 schools had confirmed flu outbreaks.

While the weekly flu numbers are decreasing, doctors still say the flu vaccine is a person's best defense against sick.

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