Flu Rates Rising In Several States Amid Holidays
Every few weeks, we periodically check in on the progression of the flu season, reporting on states that are either a rising threat for illness or ones that could be looming. With infection control such an important factor to reopening facilities and keeping schools open — and learning the best practices for doing so — it's also important to keep tabs on influenza in addition to COVID-19 concerns especially in the winter months. For states particularly afflicted by the flu, it's a good opportunity for facility managers to reinforce the importance of hygiene.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides updating information with their “Weekly U.S. Influenza Report” rates states on 6-tier scale: Very High, High, Moderate, Low, Minimal, and Insufficient data.
Our most recent coverage from two weeks ago showed low rates for the majority of jurisdictions, albeit with the fear that holiday season gatherings could shift activity levels in the wrong direction. While most regions still aren't severe, rates are on the rise in several midwestern, southeastern and northeastern states.
According to findings from Week 48 (ending Dec. 4) just one jurisdiction, New Mexico, classified as "Very High" or "High" — the same as at the end of November. The big difference are jurisdictions falling under the "Moderate category, rising from two to six: New Jersey, New York, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia. The remaining 48 jurisdictions fall under the categories of "Low", "Minimal", or "Insufficient Data"
Coupled with the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, these findings serve as a reminder that while everyone should enjoy holiday gatherings and enjoy the weeks ahead, it's imperative to continue best practices for hygiene. Frequent handwashing coupled with hand sanitizer use, touchpoint disinfection and the use of masks in appropriate settings can go along way in both keeping facility occupants, family and friends as healthy as possible. For best practices on identifying and combatting pathogens in facilities, click here.
Be sure to check back in on updated flu numbers and high-risk regions in the coming weeks.