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

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

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. 

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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