Respiratory-virus activity ticks up a bit, but hospital admissions fall; flu remains driver for respiratory admissions, ER visits in Ky.

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

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
The state Department for Public Health says respiratory virus activity ticked up a bit in Kentucky in the last week of March, but remained at a relatively low level, while hospitalizations for respiratory disease declined but remained at a level that the department considers moderate. 
In the week ended March 30, emergency-room visits for influenza, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) increased almost 5% to 1,796. Of those, 1,508 were for the flu. 
But in that same week, hospital admissions for the diseases dropped 19%, to 233.  Of those, 135 were for flu, 85 were for Covid-19 and 13 were for RSV. 
In the week ended March 30, every Kentucky county had a low rate of Covid-19 hospital admissions, considered to be less than 10 admissions per 100,000 people by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
The state reported 1,431 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in the week ended March 30, showing the first uptick in confirmed flu cases since mid-February. The state reported 857 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, which have declined for seven weeks in a row.  
The Kentucky Respiratory Disease Dashboard is now reporting Kentucky monthly death information for all Kentuckians since October 2023 as well as a separate category for those 65 and older during the 2023-24 respiratory season. 
The dashboard shows that since the flu season began in October,  there have been a total of 524 deaths attributed to Covid-19, with 447 of them in people 65 and older. One Covid-19 victim and one flu victim were children. There have been 121 flu-related deaths, with 74 in people 65 and older. Ten deaths have been attributed to co-infection, with two of in people 65 and older.

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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