Washoe County Health District officials say that flu and RSV levels are high for this time of year.
They reported an additional 211 RSV cases being counted with a total of 1,224 cases of RSV since October- an increase from last year. They say RSV in Washoe County is three times higher than in other locations within the state... and officials are seeing double the cases statewide than in 2021.
Officials also mentioned the pressures of RSV and other respiratory illnesses is hitting our hospitals emergency rooms and pediatric care units hard. They say, if you think your child has RSV or any other respiratory illness, call your pediatrician before coming to the emergency room. Kevin Dick, the District Health Officer for Washoe County says, "It's still highly recommended that you contact your pediatrician if you think your child has RSV and if breathing issues persist than consider going to the ER."
Health District officials also say the reason we’re seeing a spike in RSV cases this season is due to what they call immunity debt. They explain, children are usually exposed to RSV during their first two years of life and RSV is typically spread in the general population.
They say when we are exposed to illnesses, we then develop immunity. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, less people were exposed to illnesses like RSV which is causing the increase in cases. According to wastewater data, we’re also seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, however, reported cases are showing incomplete since many people are now taking at home COVID-19 tests.
They reported the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases is now 55 and is down slightly from last week, when it was at 67 cases.
Officials also tells us that the bivalent vaccine for children 6 months and older has been approved and will be available next Monday. Kevin Dick explains more about the new vaccine approval "Now that's approved and actually we're no longer allowed to provide the monovalent vaccine now that the bivalent is available."
Officials encourage everyone to remain attentive to prevention for respiratory illnesses, especially if you’re traveling.They recommend getting the vaccination for the flu and COVID-19 this holiday season as a preventative measure.