St. Paul, MN ( - The Minnesota Department of Health is reporting an increase in flu activity. The department’s weekly update issued Thursday notes the rating of overall influenza activity statewide has been raised from "sporadic" to "local."

Despite the uptick, activity remains well below the levels reported in early December last year when influenza-related complications put nearly 6500 Minnesotans in the hospital by the end of the flu season. There were only six flu-related hospitalizations reported during the past week and the total since the start of the flu season now stands at 61.

The Department of Health says it received five reports of probable influenza outbreaks in Minnesota schools over the past week, while there were zero outbreaks reported by long-term care facilities in Minnesota.