Delaware’s state health agency launched an online dashboard Wednesday to track weekly and seasonal influenza data, including positive cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.
The Division of Public Health said in a news release that the dashboard will provide an accurate picture of flu activity among Delawareans, and make data readily and easily available.
The system will be updated with local data every Thursday. Data from other regions will be updated monthly.
The flu dashboard can be found by clicking on the ‘Weekly Flu Data’ link at flu.delaware.gov or visiting this link.
“We are extremely excited to leverage the power and popularity of the My Healthy Community data portal platform to share the most currently available data on influenza,” said DPH Interim Director Dr. Rick Hong. “The portal has become most well-known for providing real-time COVID-19 data. Now we can bring that same level of detail and transparency to the public with flu data as well.”
The launch of the dashboard comes as flu cases soar in Delaware.
During the week of Oct. 23 to Oct. 29 — the most recent time data was 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.
That’s likely a significant underrepresentation of the actual level of flu in the community, according to DPH, because most cases go unreported.
While flu transmission appears high, flu-related hospitalizations remain low, at 14.
The health agency has expressed concern about having influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 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.
RELATED: Delaware may face ‘tripledemic’ of COVID, flu, RSV cases
How to prevent the flu
According to DPH, Delawareans can help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses by taking the following precautions:
- 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, and Division of Public Health clinics.
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.
Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever 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.
For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.
Charlie Megginson covers government and politics for Town Square LIVE News. Reach him at (302) 344-8293 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @cmegginson4.
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