Delaware News

Pima County is seeing a sharp increase in RSV and flu cases

Pima County is experiencing a significant increase in the number of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus cases normally occurring at this time of year, just as COVID-19 cases are also increasing here.

The RSV, as it is commonly called, transmits about 10 to 11 times the number typically seen at this time of year here, compared to a five-year average. Flu cases are about five times higher than the five-year average and are also peaking earlier than usual, said county health director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

Over the next six to eight weeks in particular, Cullen said, people should do what they can to protect themselves and others, especially babies and young children, the elderly, and people with heart failure. weakened immune system and chronic health problems.

Typically, babies under six months old are the most common RSV patients seen in hospitals, but admissions this year include many toddlers and preschoolers, up to age four-year-olds, as well as some elderly patients.

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“The vast majority of people admitted to hospital are young, under the age of five. However, at the same time, we are seeing people admitted not only with RSV, but also with influenza and, obviously, with COVID “Cullen said. said. “Remember that all of these illnesses put you at risk for morbidity or serious illness, depending on your age.”

COVID-19 cases have increased by about a third over the past week and are now around 167 to 170 cases per 100,000 population in the county. The level of transmission is still considered mild and will remain so unless, or until cases reach 200 per 100,000 people here. The transmission rate is currently high, at around 16%-20%.

The county’s high vaccination rate has helped keep COVID-19 cases from jumping as quickly here as they do elsewhere in the country right now, Cullen said.

However, she said, “We know that December and January were not kind to Pima County in terms of COVID. I have no reason to believe that won’t happen again.”

People are urged to wash their hands often, ventilate indoor spaces whenever possible if groups gather, get flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, and stay home if they are sick. There is no vaccine available against RSV yet.

Masking can prevent or decrease a person’s risk of getting a respiratory illness, Cullen said, or sharing it with others.

Contact journalist Patty Machelor at 520-235-0308 or


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