Flu cases remain high in Roanoke Valley

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - We’ve heard for the last few weeks about high numbers of flu cases early in the season. Monday, leadership at the CDC said this would be a “confusing season” with several circulating illnesses.

Tuesday, Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health Districts said for those districts and the state as a whole, flu cases remain high.

COVID cases are and have been low, said Dr. Morrow but the Virginia Department of Health is starting to track an uptick in cases and is expecting them to rise.

If we can take away any good news, Dr. Morrow says it appears as though RSV is on the downswing. But this time of year continues to put a strain on health care systems, especially because our flu cases peaked very early.

In fact, the CDC said Monday it tracked the highest number of flu cases for this time of the year in more than a decade.

Dr. Morrow said the work we did preventing COVID the last two years, likely contributed to an early rise in flu this year.

“But what that meant is, at a community level across the country, there were fewer people getting influenza, there was less community immunity,” she explained. “... and that lull in immunity that we typically see every year created an opportunity for influenza to come back... dramatically once we started gathering again and letting our guard down.”

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week and Dr. Morrow and other public health leaders are really encouraging flu shots - and of course those bi-valent COVID boosters. The CDC said so far, the flu shot seems to be a good match for the circulating strains. Dr. Morrow said public health leaders won’t know for sure until spring.

Dr. Morrow says each family needs to determine their own risk tolerance. She said we know the mitigation strategies that work and she encourages them if you’re going to spend time with people inside, particularly those most vulnerable to serious illness.