Emergency-department visits and hospitalizations for respiratory illness keep dropping; at ‘moderate’ level for first time since fall

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

For the first time since December, the state Department for Public Health says both respiratory-virus activity and hospital admissions related to respiratory disease are moderate and declining in Kentucky.

In the week ended March 16, emergency-department visits for influenza, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) dropped 30%, to 1,936. Of those visits, 1,555 were for flu.

Hospital admissions for the diseases dropped 38%, to 272. Of those, 141 hospital admissions were for flu, 111 for Covid-19 and 20 were for RSV.

In that same week, eight Kentucky counties had Covid-19 hospital admission rates between 10 and 19.9 admissions per 100,000 population, which the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be a “medium” rate. Those counties were Clay, Elliott, Knox, Laurel, Menifee, Morgan, Rowan and Whitley.

The state reported 1,761 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in the week ended March 16 and 1,121 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19. These numbers have dropped for five weeks in a row.

Since the flu season began in October, the state has recorded 439 Covid-19 deaths, 110 flu deaths and two co-infection deaths. One Covid-19 victim and one flu victim were children.

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