State Health Department statistics show a striking increase in early season flu cases in Chautauqua County over the past three years.
Chautauqua County has had 458 doctor-confirmed cases of influenza since the week ending Oct. 29, including 260 cases the week ending Nov. 12. In 2019-20, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, there were only two cases. in the same five-day period and four cases in total for the same three-week period. In the past pre-pandemic year, the county didn’t see diagnosed flu cases begin to rise in the mid-30s until about the week before Christmas.
“We’re seeing a huge spike in influenza A in particular, and we’re seeing a lot of RSV,” Chris Cammarata, medical director of the UPMC Chautauqua emergency department, recently told the Post-Journal. “It’s been a tough season for both of us, and we’re just getting started. It could definitely last for the next few months.
Chautauqua County’s number of flu cases is the third highest in Western New York behind Erie County (1,647) and Monroe County (1,680) and is the highest rate in l state among rural counties.
Flu diagnoses far exceed COVID-19 cases in the region, according to state health department data. The influx of patients in the emergency department is the result of an increased volume of patients infected with RSV and influenza. While Cammarata said the hospital was still seeing cases of COVID-19, it remained stable and at what he described as a “fairly low level” compared to the peak of the pandemic. In the seven days ending Nov. 21, the county had seen only 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Governor Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers to take precautions this holiday season to protect young children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions from respiratory viruses like RSV. , influenza and COVID-19 as infections continue to rise nationwide. With statewide travel and indoor gatherings prevalent around the Thanksgiving holiday, Gov. Hochul urged New Yorkers to take common preventative measures — like staying up to date on vaccines and practicing good hygiene. – to protect against these viruses and reduce the patient burden on local hospitals.
“As many New Yorkers look forward to reuniting with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday, we should also adopt the common sense measures we know work to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses,” Governor Hochul said. “Make sure you stay up to date on vaccines – including flu shots and COVID-19 reminders. And if you get sick or develop symptoms, stay home and seek treatment from your primary care provider first.