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Respiratory Viruses on the Rise Across the Country – Resources to Be Proactive

With respiratory viruses on the rise in most areas of the country, the need to be proactive versus reactive has never been more important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Respiratory Virus Data Channel Weekly Snapshot, seasonal influenza, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity remains elevated in most parts of the country. This resource is helpful in providing a summary of the key viral respiratory illness findings within the last week, with access to additional information and figures.

The CDC infection control guidance for health care providers provides a great resource for health care settings, with access to information on routine infection prevention and control practices and how to identify and manage individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The latest ending isolation and return to work guidance as well as contingency and crisis staffing guidelines provide clarity in dealing with COVID-19 in a time when staffing problems continue to plague most facilities.

COVID-19 wastewater surveillance; the use of CDC COVID-19 data tracking of test positivity, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths; and NYS Department of Health (DOH) influenza surveillance are recommended to stay abreast of circulating viruses within your area to take preventative measures such as source control in preventing illness and outbreaks within your community.

Access to Testing

The CDC also provides testing assistance for uninsured people who are symptomatic or exposed through the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program. More than 19,000 ICATT sites also offer no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to adults without health insurance and adults without full vaccine insurance coverage. This website can help you find ICATT COVID-19 testing locations and contact information for the providers.

Vaccinations: CDC and CMS Present Stories from the Field: Immunization Strategies for Long Term Care

Despite the vulnerability of nursing home residents to COVID-19 infection, only 37 percent of nursing home residents were up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations as of Dec. 31, 2023. On Jan. 31, 2024 from 2-3 p.m., join the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a webinar to hear directly from nursing home teams that have developed successful strategies to:

  • overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and fatigue;
  • schedule on-site vaccination clinics; and
  • address staff turnover to make sure that residents get vaccinated timely.

The link to register can be found here.

Contact: Carrie Mosley, cmosley@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 147