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UIHC warns of a serious flu season and puts more strain on the already growing thin health system

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The flu vaccine will be found on the package at the Influenza Vaccination Clinic for employees and volunteers at Cedar Rapids’ Mercy Medical Center on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. The hospital requires employees and volunteers to get the flu vaccine and provides it free of charge. (Rebecca F. Mirror / Gazette)

Dr. Teresa Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, University of Iowa Healthcare. (Photo courtesy of UIHC)

Iowa City — The University of Iowa Healthcare has discovered a startling surge in new influenza cases in recent weeks, establishing the potential for state-wide hospitals to tackle the influenza and COVID-19 “epidemic” that will prevail this winter. Did.

UIHC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Teresa Brennan told reporters on Monday.

The Healthcare System was announced by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Americans earlier this fall. This year is the “early and probably serious flu season”..

And, prior to this week’s Thanksgiving celebration, due to the low influenza vaccination rates in Iowan, Brennan said the increase in influenza cases, coupled with the continued surge in COVID-19 infections, “our community. And could really affect medical resources. “

“Our healthcare system is already tense,” Brennan said.

Brennan urged Iowans this week to take precautions, including vaccination against the flu. This is recommended for everyone over 6 months. In addition to vaccination, mitigation strategies include masking, frequent hand washing, and staying home when symptoms occur. Individuals should also consider taking a COVID-19 test at home in advance to rule out the possibility of infection.

“Do everything you can to keep it safe,” Brennan said. “I know everyone wants to meet their family and friends. It’s been a while, but I want them to do the same next year.”

Iowa’s first flu-related death during the current flu season was earlier this month, and state public health officials said that women over the age of 81 in Central Iowa who had basic health were the result of the virus. He said he died.

Deaths from childhood influenza have not yet been reported in Iowa this season.

About 22% of the state’s population, or about 701,000, was vaccinated during this flu season, which began in October. Iowa Public Health Service.

Now that the respiratory virus is widespread in the community, Brennan said it is not enough to offset the spread. Ideally, the vaccination rate should be at least 70-80 percent to reach herd immunity.

In addition to the potential increase in hospitalizations, staff at the state’s largest hospitals are worried about the burden on health care workers who have been working on pandemics for more than a year and a half.

“If influenza is in the community, a certain percentage of our workers will get the flu in the community,” Brennan said. “… When that happens, it puts some of our nurses, doctors, therapists and technicians out of place. It can really hinder our ability to care for patients.”

Local medical personnel reported a similar pattern this spring and summer with an unusually high incidence of common respiratory viruses such as syncytial virus and RSV.

The UIHC press conference was held when the state continued to experience a surge in new coronavirus cases, reaching a seven-day positive rate not seen in a few months.

The immunization rate of COVID-19 is delayed in Iowa, with nearly 57% of Iowa over the age of 5 and 53% of the state’s population fully vaccinated against coronavirus. As of last week..

UIHC had 22 adult patients with COVID-19 on Sunday. Hospital data..

Last year’s influenza activity, or rather lack, highlights that the epidemic of the respiratory virus is community-dependent. According to experts, the spread of face masks, social distance and other COVID-19 mitigation measures has dramatically reduced influenza activity during the 2020-21 influenza season.

According to the CDC, few cases of influenza were detected in clinical laboratories nationwide from September 28, 2020 to May 22, 2021, despite high levels of testing nationwide. There were 2,000 cases. According to CDC data, this is a significant decrease from the previous year when 20 to 40 million Americans had the flu.

This has resulted in the lowest flu-related hospitalizations and deaths in history.

The CDC received only one report of death from childhood influenza during the past season. By comparison, the lowest number reported since federal authorities began tracking children’s flu deaths was the 2011-12 season.

This year’s influenza vaccine is tetravalent. That is, it contains ingredients to protect individuals from four different influenza viruses. CDC says..

Certain people, such as pregnant women, the elderly, toddlers, and people with weakened immunity, are more likely to get the flu. Symptoms include fever, headache, malaise, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, and muscle aches.

For children, urgent warning signs that require urgent medical attention include dyspnea, dyspnea, or non-interaction, flu-like symptoms that improve, but then fever and cough worsen. increase.

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