Not only is Colorado getting a dose of wintry weather a bit earlier than usual this year, but the flu has arrived early, too, causing two deaths already this month and 171 hospitalizations in the last two weeks. That’s an “extraordinary” start to the flu season, writes The Denver Post, and has medical workers unsure of what’s to come.

State health officials don’t normally begin tracking flu cases until October and don’t see many hospitalizations until November or December, says Dr. Ken Gershman, the state’s chief medical officer, adding the H1N1 swine-flue virus is “clearly” to blame for the trend.

“This is entirely different than any other flu season,” he says, noting most of the cases are in Denver and along the Front Range.

Hospitalizations are just an indication of the prevalence of the virus, representing a small fraction of actual flu cases since most people don’t seek treatment, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Meanwhile, some relief: Three million doses of vaccine will be available the first week of October, which is earlier than expected, The New York Times reports. and The Baltimore Sun debunks some of the myths that surround the swine-flu virus.