ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota health officials have confirmed 23 more flu-related deaths, raising the season total to 27.

Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger told reporters Thursday the state is in the midst of its most severe flu outbreak in several years, and it's putting stress on the health care system.

More than 1,100 people have been hospitalized with flu symptoms across Minnesota this season. Several hospitals have restricted visitors in an attempt to protect patients and staff. Most of the deaths and hospitalizations have been people over 65.

Ehlinger says it's not too late to get a flu shot, but the sooner people who need them get them the better.

He also says that people who are sick with flu symptoms can help blunt the outbreak by staying home from work or school.

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