IDPH warns respiratory viruses ‘spread fast’ ahead of holiday – NBC Chicago

Illinois health officials warn respiratory viruses are ‘spreading rapidly’ as the holidays approach, with RSV, influenza and COVID-19 continuing to spread as days get shorter and temperatures rise cool down.

“The United States is currently facing its highest rate of influenza hospitalizations in a decade, with young children and the elderly being most at risk,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. , in a press release. “Vaccines remain our best tools to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19 and influenza. I strongly recommend anyone who has not achieved full protection against COVID-19 and influenza to get vaccinated immediately. The novel COVID-19 bivalent booster and influenza vaccine targets current strains of these viruses.

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, struck children in the Chicago area earlier this year, and doctors said cases remained extremely high.

“It’s been pretty significant for us. A good percentage of our hospitalized children have RSV. About 65-70% of hospitalized children are RSV positive,” said Dr. Michael Cappello, vice president of pediatrics at Advocate. Children’s Hospital at Parc Crête.

Cappello said managing the influx of patients is tricky.

“When the beds open, we can move another patient, but it’s been constant, almost a revolving door, and it’s across the country because we’re seeing such an increase, an unprecedented increase in patients with of these viral diseases,” said Dr. Cappello.

And now other viruses are also starting to spread, according to Dr. Arti Barnes, chief medical officer for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“The situation is still quite critical and unfortunately based on what we see coming just behind RSV, which is influenza and COVID, it is not yet time to let go,” Dr Barnes said. .

As of Nov. 4, IDPH said there were only 18 pediatric intensive care beds available out of 289 statewide.

A big concern this year is that there aren’t as many flu shots as doctors would like.

“This year we have even lower flu vaccination rates in children than in 2020-2021, during this season, and that’s really alarming,” Dr Barnes said.

Flu cases are just starting to increase. About two weeks ago, Cappello said Advocate Children’s Hospital began seeing one to five flu cases a day. That’s why doctors are urging families to act now.

“Get your flu shot if you qualify, so anyone 6 months and older, because that will help ease that a bit and we don’t need to hospitalize those patients; that will be much better for everything the world,” Cappello said.

Meanwhile, Illinois health officials have reported 11,020 new cases of COVID-19 since Nov. 4, along with 38 additional deaths over the past six days.

Cases and deaths have seen a notable drop over the previous week, which saw 14,225 new cases of COVID-19 and 54 additional deaths from the virus.

Last week, however, 31 counties were listed at an average level of transmission over the past week. The state is also distributing one million home tests to 200,000 families in ZIP codes outside of Chicago listed as high on a “social vulnerability index.”

Because many of the viruses’ symptoms overlap, Cappello and Barnes said it’s important to contact your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider immediately.

“It could be RSV. Adults get RSV too. It could be COVID. It could be the flu. So contact your provider and say hey, ‘Do I need to get tested. Do I need to? treatment?'” Barnes said.

COVID and flu treatments work best when started within two days of symptoms.

NBC Chicago

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