Masking up and social distancing isn’t just reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Local health officials say it’s also making a difference when it comes to flu.
Health experts expected flu cases to be lower because of the measures established for COVID-19 precautions.
That seems to be working.
Health experts say even though flu activity is low and overall vaccination rates are strong, flu season is far from over.
“This is just one piece of really good news in a time with a lot of bad news,” says Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer with the Rock Island Health Department. “Normally this would have been something that we would have been fighting for several months now. We could have had some outbreaks in congregate care facilities. We probably would have about one or two ICU admissions by now, but that’s not the case this season.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health the entire state has 11 ICU admissions, and no outbreaks or pediatric deaths.
Around this same time last year the CDC reported wide spread influenza.
Hill says health experts pushed the flu vaccine earlier this year. Getting more people the flu vaccination definitely played a role.
“Between increased vaccinations, masking social distancing, and washing your hands flu is virtually non-existent this year,” says Hill.
“I mean I have had the flu in the past. I have always gotten the flu shot,” says resident, Roxanne Schmitt.
Schmitt says it was more important this year than ever before.
Schmitt says, “I was more concerned with COVID but like I said I got the flu shot, because I always get the flu shot and I didn’t want to take a chance of getting a double whammy.”
Hill says, “It shows that masking social distancing and washing your heads are great public health prevention measures for any repository illness including COVID-19.”
Hill also adds flu season isn’t over just yet.
If you haven’t received your flu shot you can still get one.
The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have been zero long term care outbreaks, and three deaths statewide.