UTICA – Government officials are pushing for funding of local health centers as a way to combat the nationwide flu epidemic.
Sen. Charles Schumer visited Upstate New York Monday in his efforts to help local health care officials.
He says more than five thousand New Yorkers have been hospitalized with the flu this season.
The number of new cases went up by 54 percent within a week. Statistics show that 37 children across the country have died from this season's flu epidemic.
Sen. Schumer is pushing for more funding of health centers. With the rise of flu cases, Schumer says that health centers must be protected and strengthened.
"I love community health centers, we all do. And the pledge I make to everyone here, have a little bit of clout in Washington,” Schumer said. “I'm going to use every ounce of that clout to see that our community health centers are funded as the next budget comes to us."
Schumer is also pushing for federal health officials to send a surveillance team to New York to study the rapid spread of the illness.
He says a surveillance team could help local and state health officials by identifying the exact flu strains involved and analyzing the impact on the state's overall population.
Schumer says a surveillance team could help the state by aiding in the ongoing public health efforts in the state.