Health officials eyeing rise in illnesses over holiday week

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:49 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - State health numbers show Flu, RSV, and COVID cases all trending upward.

The numbers show 2.86 percent of emergency visits are for Influenza-Like Illnesses, up from 0.4 percent in the beginning of October. 1.2 percent of visits are for RSV, up from 0.41 percent in the beginning of October. 0.94 percent of visits are for COVID, up from 0.83 percent at the end of October.

Nurse Practitioner Haven Brolsma said her urgent care clinic in Huntsville seems to reflect the numbers.

“Before lunch today, we’ve seen 30 patients at this clinic,” she said. “At our other clinic before lunch, we’ve seen around 45. Usually on Sundays are our busiest days. We’re only open for six hours, but we’re seeing 80′s in those six hours.”

The upcoming week of travel concerns Brolsma, and Dr. Karen Landers from the state health department.

“I think we’re early in the season, and we are also early in terms of percentages of illnesses in our syndromic surveillance, so I expect an increase in respiratory illnesses after people gather together,” Landers said.

Health officials said it’s important to still be mindful of your condition before meeting with your loved ones. They said just because doesn’t feel sick, doesn’t mean they aren’t sick, or could affect someone else.

“We’re seeing some flu patients who don’t even have a fever,” Brolsma said. “If you have sniffles or having chills for those side effects, you need to go ahead and get tested or stay at home to be safe.”

“We all want to see our loved ones over the holiday season, but perhaps if it’s not on that day, and we can see them over another period of time, I think that would be good to spare anyone any illnesses,” Landers said.

Landers said it’s never too late in the season to get flu shots.

State illness data can be found here.

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