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Flu cases dip slightly in Washington, but still well above recent years

2022-12-17 ILI weekly map.jpg
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Flu activity in Washington and Idaho is at the highest end of the scale on this CDC map of flu activity in the United Sates. This map covers the week of Dec. 10-17.

Flu cases in Washington are backing off, but still considered very high, and in Idaho flu cases continued to build in the latest update.

After hitting a peak early this month, the number of confirmed flu cases and emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms in Washington have been declining. But across the border in Idaho, the virus’ spread continues to grow.

Those are two of the takeaways from the latest flu summaries for both states, which cover the week of December 10 to 17.

While Washington’s flu cases have dropped a bit, visits for outpatient and emergency care for flu-like illness are still way above the seasonal baseline. And after falling briefly, emergency room visits in eastern Washington did tick up again. In Idaho, nearly ten percent of outpatient or E.R. trips are for flu symptoms. The baseline is less than two percent.

Washington reported 26 flu deaths the week of December 10 to 17, bringing the season’s total to 66. In Idaho, six more people died, which brings the toll there to 15.

How the Christmas holiday affects flu cases won’t be known until early January.

2022-12-17 syndromic surveillance.jpg
Washington Department of Health
Hospital visits for flu symptoms in Washington this year (dark green line) have dipped in recent weeks, but are well above the same figures from previous years (light green and blue lines).

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.