Create a Website Account - Manage notification subscriptions, save form progress and more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2022
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Flu activity is increasing rapidly, and is expected to continue increasing through the end of fall and into the winter.
The percentage of hospital visits for flu-like illness already is at least four times higher than the same time period in 2020 and 2021, according to the Snohomish County Influenza Surveillance report for the week ending November 12, 2022.
Of nearly 1,200 influenza tests performed in the county, roughly 1 in 4 came back positive. That’s nearly double the positivity rate from the previous week. While data for the most recent week (ending November 19) is not yet final, initial indicators are that Snohomish County may be nearing 50% positivity for flu testing.
In short, flu season is here, and it has arrived in full force after several seasons when illness prevention measures kept flu activity unusually low.
Meanwhile, other potentially serious respiratory viruses also are circulating. The Snohomish Health District has heard from healthcare providers, as well as from community partners like schools and child cares, that there has been a large increase in people getting sick compared to the last couple of years. This has been seen around the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued an advisory earlier this month.
Respiratory syncytial virus – more often called RSV – is circulating at very high rates. This disease particularly impacts children.
COVID-19 continues to spread at lower levels than in the last few years, but is expected to increase this winter.
These illnesses can cause serious problems and hospitalization. Very few beds are available in local hospitals at this time, especially for children.
Pharmacies, clinics and stores also are experiencing shortages in some medications for children. Healthcare providers as well as parents seeking medicine for a sick child are likely to have a hard time getting certain high-demand options, including Tamiflu, over-the-counter cough medicine such as Robitussin and Delsym, and children’s Tylenol or ibuprofen. There also is a nationwide shortage of liquid amoxicillin, a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections such as ear infections.
“It is essential that we as a community put our best efforts into keeping our children, our elders, our families, and ourselves healthy,” said Dr. James Lewis, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We know what works – get vaccinated, stay home if you are sick, keep up with handwashing, and wear a mask in crowded indoor settings. Masking not only protects against COVID, it also protects against other respiratory viruses including flu and RSV.”
It is not too late to get your annual flu shot, and to make sure you are up-to-date on COVID vaccination, including your bivalent booster.
“People 6 months or older should get vaccinated,” Lewis said. “Though vaccines don’t offer 100% protection against getting sick, they greatly reduce the likelihood of getting sick enough to need a hospital. These immunizations can also reduce your risk of transmitting flu or COVID to others if you do get infected, which helps protect your family, loved ones and the wider community.”
Other ways to help:
Flu information, including influenza surveillance reports, is available at www.snohd.org/flu.
Information on COVID-19 vaccination can be found at www.snohd.org/covidvaccine.