Maryland Braces for Flu Season with Trifecta of Respiratory Viruses

Maryland is ranked in the second most severe category out of fourteen on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza severity chart and top seven nationally. 

According to both the statewide influenza database and the CDC, Maryland is experiencing an early onset and severity of flu cases expected to be the worst in over a decade. The current 7-day positive rate for COVID-19 is almost double what it was this time last year at 6.6 percent with half the amount of testing volume. While COVID-19 and influenza boosters are available at local health departments there is not currently a vaccine available for RSV, a common respiratory virus seeing an unprecedented early spike in Maryland this season. Research shows RSV has particularly adverse effects for newborns.

This triple treat of viruses has whittled away at a dwindling number of hospital beds and compounded the current crisis of staffing shortages in emergency rooms. With the holiday season upon us the infection rates for all three viruses are likely to climb.

Local health departments bolster the public defense under these circumstances by preparing with vaccination clinics, testing sites and educational resources. This process serves to inform the public of preventative behaviors that will keep them out of the hospital and protects vital resources from undue strain. Preemptive approaches like this are just one in a series of preparedness measures that local health departments are well versed while managing a host of other public health needs.

A multi-track strategy to preventative and curative public health measures is a topic that will be explored in great depth at the MACo Winter Conference this January with a session titled, “Help Your Health Department Help You.” The conference registration brochure has all the details about this session and more.

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3).

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: