Area experiencing ‘elevated’ flu activity

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By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer

According to San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH), Archuleta and La Plata counties are currently seeing the highest positivity rate of influenza reported all season.

Information provided by SJBPH Communications Director Megan Graham shows that, for the week ending April 23, there were 176 tests reported and 54 were positive, making for a 30.7 percent positivity rate.

Graham explains in an email to The SUN that SJBPH tracks flu hospitalizations and flu positivity trends in Archuleta and La Plata counties, with the 2022 influenza surveillance stretching from Oct. 3, 2021, through May 21. Information includes trends from six outpatient clinics in Archuleta and La Plata counties.

“We are currently seeing the highest positivity rate reported all season,” Graham wrote.

Graham also noted that there have been three influenza-associated hospitalizations of Archuleta County residents this season — all within the month of April. 

SJBPH only tracks pediatric flu deaths, with Graham noting there have been none.

Like elsewhere in the state and country, SJBPH reported that influenza A is the predominate virus locally.

“There is widespread flu activity across the state of Colorado,” the email states. “The elevated influenza trend in La Plata and Archuleta counties are similar to the rest of the state.”

Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) CEO Dr. Rhonda Webb also acknowledged area flu cases in her report to the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board of Directors on April 26.

In her report, Webb told the board PSMC is not currently seeing much COVID-19, but is seeing several cases of influenza A a week and is continuing respiratory droplet protection practices such as masking.

As of May 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued to list Archuleta County’s community level as “low” for COVID-19.

Graham notes SJBPH encourages people to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, cover their coughs and stay home when they aren’t feeling well.

randi@pagosasun.com