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Center For Disease Control & Prevention
Center For Disease Control & Prevention

In a year where health and disease is really at the forefront of our brain, another virus, one we are familiar with, is entering its normal season. Even though we are at the start of the flu season, there is one state, and I only mean one, that is currently 'very high' with Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI). 

COVID-19 has caused a struggle for everyone around the world. If you didn't catch COVID-19 (hopefully you haven't), you were either negatively financially or mentally impacted, lost your job, or all of the above. Just as 2020 does, more bad things keep happening. This time of year, it's the flu.

Not only does the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track COVID-19, but obviously they track a bunch of other diseases and viruses, including the flu. We are 8 weeks into the flu season and Iowa is the nation leading in Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI).

Here is the good and bad news about that. Since COVID-19 does have symptoms similar to COVID-19 (sore throat, cough, fever) the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) says that of the people with ILI, they believe it's COVID-19 related. To sum it up, they think there is more COVID-19 positive people than people with the flu. Pick your poison, I guess.

According to the latest summary for the week ending in November 7 from IDPH, several indicators of respiratory illness or illness in general are elevated, but very few positive influenza tests have been reported. Officials from IDPH say the State Hygienic Laboratory did not identify any influenza positive specimens from specimens submitted.

There were two influenza A positive and two influenza B positive antigen test results reported on the Iowa respiratory virus survey. The past week, Iowa only saw two influenza‑related hospitalizations were reported.

Iowa hospitals saw that the proportion of out patient visits due to influenza-like illness (ILI) was 5.69%. That is above the regional baseline of 1.7%. Even though that percentage is well above the regional baseline, the sites and/or counties reporting high ILI are reporting that vast majority of illness is due to COVID-19.

Throughout the state of Iowa, eight (8) schools reported 10% illness. In region 6 (eastern Iowa) there are two (2) schools reporting 10% illness. Those schools are in Clayton and Iowa counties.

IDPH is reporting no influenza outbreaks at long-term care facilities. Iowa has only had 1 influenza related death, but no influenza-associated deaths were reported for the reported week.

As of the latest report, IDPH reports 956,414 flu vaccines have been administered. If you haven't received your flu shot yet, Hy-Vee is still doing 20¢ on your fuel saver with a flu shot. Flu shots are free through most insurance companies. Check your insurance provider for more information.

According to the CDC, Iowa is third when it comes to positivity rate for COVID-19. The CDC reports that Iowa has 146.4 positive cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, and a total of 32,354 cases in the past 7 days. North Dakota (first) and South Dakota (second) are the only two states ahead of Iowa when it comes to cases per 100,000, respectively.

At this time, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois is at 1.49% of Outpatient Visits with ILI. This baseline for Illinois is 1.9%. Illinois has reported zero influenza deaths so far in the 2020-2021 flu season.

See how other states are doing with the flu below with the interactive map from the CDC.

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