Ohio Flu Hospitilizations Jump
832 Hospitalizations make flu the largest threat
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio had the highest rate of hospitalizations from influenza last week for the 2019-2020 flu season, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported. From January 26 to February 1, 832 people were hospitalized, an increase of more than 36% from the previous week of flu reporting. The full report can be found here.
“The current flu hospitalization numbers are deeply concerning,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “While much of the recent news cycle focuses on novel coronavirus, Ohio’s primary infectious disease threat is influenza. Ohio currently has zero confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, while we have 832 hospitalizations because of the flu. The numbers speak for themselves.”
Earlier this week, an 11-year-old from Lake County died from the flu, the second pediatric death of the 2019-2020 flu season. To date, Ohio has reported 4,465 total influenza-associated hospitalizations for the 2019-2020 season. Flu activity typically peaks between December and February.
While the flu can be dangerous for any person, it is especially dangerous for the very young and elderly, those who are immune-compromised, those with chronic health conditions, and pregnant women.
Flu spreads from person-to-person via droplets from coughing, sneezing or close contact. Symptoms typically start one to four days after a person is exposed. Those symptoms include, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and tiredness.
“The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot,” Dr. Acton said. “You cannot get the flu from the flu shot and it is recommended for everyone older than six months.”
If you have had problems with the flu shot before, talk to your medical provider about options available that might not cause problems for you. Because flu season continues through the spring, there is still time to get the vaccine.
Other precautions include:
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after touching objects – this is how germs are spread.
- Practice good habits like disinfecting surfaces, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress.
Those who are sick should stay home from work, school, and errands. This helps prevent spreading the illness to others.
Learn more about the flu and precautions to take at www.flu.ohio.gov.
The Ohio Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control, has been closely monitoring an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel, which means new, coronavirus. This coronavirus is called “2019-nCoV”. The illness was first detected in Wuhan China and has started to spread. The illness is considered a low risk to the American public, according to the CDC. To date no cases have been reported in Ohio. However, one case has been reported in the state of Washington.
A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan. Ohio’s public health system includes a team of state experts, local health departments, and local partners that perform daily monitoring of diseases. The Ohio Department of Health is closely monitoring the 2019-nCoV virus and is ready to respond if a case is reported in Ohio.
What is 2019-nCoV?
2019-nCoV is from a large family of viruses that are common in animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. While it is rare, sometimes an animal virus can infect people and then begin to spread from person-to-person. Many of the patients who are ill in China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market. This suggests an animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had contact with animal markets. This implies that person-to-person spread may be occurring. This likely happened from droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the seasonal flu is spread.
It is important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary from one illness to another. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily this illness may spread from person-to-person. There is much more to learn about 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing
Symptoms reported from those infected with 2019-nCoV are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you suspect you may have been exposed to this virus because you have traveled to China or have been around people who may have been exposed and/or are exhibiting symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and let them know you may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV before visiting the healthcare facility. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take precautionary steps to protect other people.
What can you do to limit risk?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus by avoiding travel to areas where it is present. As a reminder, it is always recommended to follow these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any virus:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For more information about 2019-nCoV visit The Ohio Department of Health website at www.odh.ohio.gov.
After Hours Emergency Protocol
The Noble County Health Department has an after-hours emergency answering service system. This system gives the caller a prompt in the case of a public health emergency to leave a message in a specified mailbox. Any message left in this voice mailbox will cause the system to contact the Nurse on call, who within the required time-frame shall call in to retrieve the message and follow up as required based on the situation protocol. All calls received after normal working hours that are determined to be a public health emergency will be relayed to the Health Commissioner or Medical Director. The phone number of the answering service system is the same as the health department and is available 24 hours a day at 740-732-4958.