FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seasonal Concerns for Respiratory Illnesses
Uptick in RSV cases and hospitalizations statewide draw concern for pediatric hospital capacity
Media Contact: Mike Bordogna, County Manager, 970.728.3844, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsey Mills, Public Information Consultant, email@example.com
(November 2, 2022) – San Miguel County, CO --- A notable increase in seasonal respiratory illnesses has been observed this fall, including a national increase in COVID cases. In particular, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has reported an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases across the state and is actively monitoring an increase in RSV-related hospitalizations and outbreaks. The CDPHE has indicated that the increase in RSV activity is currently putting a strain on Colorado’s pediatric health care system.
Throughout October, there were 42 outbreaks reported statewide, more than double the number from the same timeframe in 2021. Currently, 95% of hospitalizations are among children. The CDPHE has seen a sharp increase in reported RSV outbreaks occurring in childcare and school settings. Among these outbreaks, more than half have had at least one person involved in the outbreak seek care at a hospital.
“While an increase in respiratory infections is typical for this time of year, the unusually high number of severe cases has resulted in a strain on pediatric clinics and hospitals in many regions of the United States, including Colorado,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “To protect those most at risk, teachers, staff and students as well as childcare professionals and young children in childcare should stay home whenever sick.”
RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads by inhaling or having contact with the virus-containing droplets spread by an infected individual when talking, coughing, and sneezing. For most, symptoms of RSV are like the common cold, while symptoms may be more severe in infants, young children, and older adults. Symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sneezing or coughing
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
If experiencing symptoms, individuals should remain home from work, school, or childcare until fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and given that other symptoms have been improving for 24 hours. This guidance applies to influenza and COVID-19 as well, even if the individual has tested negative for COVID-19.
“Seasonal cold and flu season has officially begun,” said Director Franklin. “Public Health is actively following developments with pediatric hospital strain due to RSV infections and working with local medical centers to understand what’s happening locally. The best way to protect ourselves and loved ones is to get the flu vaccine and the latest COVID booster.”
Updated COVID-19 vaccines and annual flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. San Miguel County Public Health will continue to administer vaccines to combat flu and COVID throughout the month of November. To register for a flu vaccine, visit bit.ly/smcflu2022. To register for an updated COVID vaccine or booster, visit bit.ly/smcvaccine.
Power The Comeback:
- Crowded places, covered faces
- Get vaccinated
- Stay home when sick and get tested
For coronavirus vaccine information, visit: bit.ly/smcvaccineinfo
For coronavirus testing information, visit: bit.ly/smccovidtesting
For up-to-date coronavirus information, visit: https://www.sanmiguelcountyco.gov/coronavirus
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