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As the flu season progresses, CleanLink periodically checks in every few weeks 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, and Minimal

Analyzing the results from the latest reporting on Nov. 5, and several regions have experienced a significant spike compared to just a few weeks ago. In mid-October, the District of Columbia (D.C.) stood as the lone jurisdiction classified as “Very High” in case rates. Fast forward to the latest results, and an additional 15 jurisdictions have joined D.C.: Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico.

An additional nine jurisdictions fell into the “High” category: California, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The remaining 30 were categorized as “Moderate”, “Low”, or “Minimal”. On a regional basis, almost every state exhibiting the highest case rates were concentrated in the Southeast. Comparatively, most of the Pacific Northwest has been relatively unaffected, with California being the only state west of Colorado that’s classified higher than “Low.” The East Coast and Midwest have less consistency, with states with stark contrasts in case rates often bordering each other — such as Nebraska and Iowa. 

The jump in case rates overall is no surprise, and is in-line with years without shutdowns and other pandemic-related factors. With Thanksgiving around the corner, infection control measures will become increasingly stressed in facilities all over the country as high-volume indoor gatherings and travel are inevitable. A proactive approach is always the best route, including the promotion of handwashing, disinfecting high-touch surfaces frequently and ensuring the right products and resources are on-hand to do so. Click here for an article how to develop and properly maintain and infection control program as a frontline cleaning crew. 

Check back in to for additional flu updates as the season progresses.