DPH Launches ‘My Health Community’ Influenza Dashboard
The Delaware Division of Public Health has launched a My Healthy Community Influenza Dashboard. This will share weekly and seasonal data on positive cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations in the state in an effort to provide an accurate picture of flu activity in Delaware. The number of flu cases in Delaware has increased since the start of the season at the beginning of October – with 254 current laboratory confirmed cases.
Additional information from DPH:
The flu dashboard can be found by clicking on the ‘Weekly Flu Data’ link at flu.delaware.gov or visiting https://myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/portals/flu/locations/state/seasons/2022-2023/overview
The launch of the dashboard is timely as flu cases have soared dramatically. For the week of October 23 to 29, the most recent time for which data is available, there were 172 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in the state bringing the season total to 254. The week’s total is a six-fold increase from the prior week. Many medical providers offer rapid flu tests in their offices. As this data is not being consistently reported statewide to DPH, the number of lab-confirmed cases is likely an under-representation of the total level of flu in the community. Conversely, flu-related hospitalizations for the season remain low, at 14. DPH is working through data suppression issues on MHC to be able to add that data to the dashboard. Data for these categories will be available at the county level and will be broken down by age group. Trend graphs for influenza-like illness and COVID-like illness are also available. No flu-related deaths have yet been reported through October 29. The data available on MHC will replace the weekly influenza surveillance reports prepared by DPH’s Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.
DPH officials remain concerned about having the influenza, RSV and COVID-19 respiratory viruses all circulating at the same time. The number of RSV cases for the latest week is 126, bringing the season total to 398. These are lab-confirmed cases only and are an under-representation of the complete picture of RSV in the state. RSV data is not currently planned to be added to the new dashboard, but will continue to be reported on the DPH website’s influenza surveillance page, and may also be accessed in the data section of flu.delaware.gov. DPH will begin working to also collect additional RSV-related data on patient visits from health care systems, and their affiliated urgent cares/walk-ins and primary care providers.
Delawareans can help prevent the spread of the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and RSV, by following these simple steps:
- Get vaccinated for the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses for which vaccines are available.
- Stay home if sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of the tissue in a wastebasket afterward.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Sanitize commonly touched surfaces more frequently during the fall and winter.
- Wear a mask when cases are high or if you are at higher risk for respiratory illness.
Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), and Division of Public Health clinics. While DPH no longer holds mass community flu clinics, it is offering flu vaccines at community-based locations where the DPH mobile units also provide additional health services.
Flu symptoms come on suddenly and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Some signs and symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, and body aches, chills, and fatigue. Testing can effectively help you determine which illness you have. Children, older adults, and those with chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.
Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.
In addition, people with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. Contacting your primary care provider is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant, or have chronic medical conditions.
DPH is sharing flu-related messaging through radio, print, and social media messaging and has distributed a toolkit to schools, community-based organizations, and medical providers to help encourage flu vaccination through their networks.
For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.