ED visits, hospitalizations for respiratory disease decline in state

State Department for Public Health graphs, adapted by Kentucky Health News

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky’s influenza levels remain elevated, but are declining, and hospitalizations for overall respiratory illness are moderate and declining, according to the state Department for Public Health.

In the week ended March 9, emergency-department visits for the three main respiratory diseases showed a 16% drop in visits for Covid-19, flu and RSV, to 2,734. Of those, 79% of the visits were attributed to the flu. 

Hospital admissions for the diseases dropped 28% in the week ended March 9, to 387. Of those admissions, 216 were for the flu, 154 were for Covid-19 and 17 were for RSV (respiratory syncitial virus).

In the week ended March 9, 10 Kentucky counties had a Covid-19 hospital admission rate between 10 and 19.9 admissions per 100,000 people, a rate that is considered “medium” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Those counties were McCracken, Marshall, Lyon, Livingston, Hickman, Graves, Crittenden, Carlisle and Ballard, in West Kentucky, and Letcher, on Kentucky’s southeastern border.

The state reported 2,762 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in the week ended March 9 and 1,605 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19. Both of these numbers have dropped for four 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, both reported in recent weeks. One Covid-19 victim and one flu victim were children.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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