Flu, RSV, and COVID-19 cases on the rise in Central Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — With winter just around the corner, cases of respiratory illnesses are on the rise.

Local healthcare systems in Central Illinois are facing a surge of respiratory viruses.

“The tripledemic that we keep talking about, we see that. We have RSV, we have flu, we have COVID, we have all kinds of patients coming to the hospital,” said Dr. Ravi Kashyap, a pulmonologist with UnityPoint Health.

According to the CDC, Illinois currently has a very high level of flu activity.

Dr. Brian Curtis, vice president of medical specialties with OSF Healthcare, said some show indicators that this flu season is one that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade.

“The positivity rate in the sampling is about 25 percent. So that’s actually very large, and the most that we’ve seen since 2010 which kind of around the swine flu,” Curtis said.

The increase of flu circulating has led hospitals, including OSF Saint Francis, to experience an influx of patients being admitted.

“We’ve opened up surge beds to accommodate influenza patients,” Curtis said.

Tracy Terlinde, an epidemiologist with the Peoria City/County Health Department, said children with the cold-like illness RSV are also keeping beds full.

“Our hospitals are seeing more ED visits and admissions to the hospital which takes up our ICU beds or pediatric ICU beds,” Terlinde said.

Dr. Kashyap said it’s important for the community to get the flu vaccine, wash their hands, cover their coughs, and stay home if they’re sick, especially around the holidays.

“Take the most precaution you can. People may have plans to go visit their family over Christmas which is a great thing to do but if you’re sick or someone is sick cancel that,” Kashyap said.

Doctors said that the flu strain that’s circulating is lining up with the one that the vaccine protects against.

Due to the flu, Peoria and Tazewell County Health Departments are also asking the community voluntarily limit their hospital visits. This includes only having 2 visitors per patient.

Read More: Flu, RSV, and COVID-19 cases on the rise in Central Illinois

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