Nine more Minnesotans died of flu-related causes in the second week of February, even as the outbreak continued to ebb statewide, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday.

Since October, 136 deaths have been confirmed in Minnesota in the current flu season, which has been one of the most severe in years.

Last week, 72 people were hospitalized with complications of the flu, down from a high of more than 600 in the first week of January.

The number of reported flu outbreaks crept up slightly. Last week, outbreaks were reported at three nursing homes, up from one the week before, and 22 schools, up from 19 the week before.

The latest numbers appear to confirm earlier reports indicating that Minnesota's flu outbreak peaked in about mid-January.

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384