ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza has dropped across New York state, the first decline since the flu was deemed widespread in December.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that about 13,700 flu cases were reported last week to the state Department of Health, down from 18,250 the previous week. The Democrat continues to encourage New Yorkers to get a flu shot.

Health officials say the number of New Yorkers hospitalized last week with the lab-confirmed flu cases fell for the third consecutive week to around 1,700.

Over the past three months, more than 100,000 cases of the flu have been reported in the state, with nearly 18,300 people requiring hospitalization.

New York officials say the flu is blamed for claiming the lives of five children.

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