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Respiratory virus season ends for '23-24

Columbia Basin Herald - 4/15/2024

Apr. 15—MOSES LAKE — Grant County had three COVID-19-related deaths and three flu-related deaths in the 2023-24 in the epidemic phase of the respiratory virus season, according to a press release from the Grant County Health District.

The respiratory virus season epidemic phase was considered to be Dec. 8 to April 12.

"In most circumstances, healthcare providers are not mandated to report most respiratory illnesses and test results, with the exception of COVID-19," the press release said. "To monitor respiratory illnesses in Grant County, GCHD partners with healthcare facilities, who have agreed to share their observations and results."

Emergency room visits associated with COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been below 4% since early March, the press release said. About 8% of emergency room visits throughout the county were associated with respiratory illnesses at the season's peak in late December.

The coronavirus epidemic heightened awareness of respiratory illnesses, and GCHD officials are recommending that people stay current on their COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Even in the warmer months, everyone aged five years and older should get one dose of the most recently updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness from (the coronavirus)," the press release said. "An additional dose is now recommended for adults 65 years and older at least four months following their last dose. Vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness and hospitalization by about 50% compared to people not up to date on vaccination."

Vaccines are available for RSV, pneumonia and flu, and the press release said those cause the most severe respiratory illnesses.

"While some vaccines are administered seasonally, others follow a specific schedule," the press release said.

People should make sure they are up to date on those vaccines as well, it said.


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