CARSON CITY (KTNV) — According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, influenza activity has been significantly lower than past years — specifically hospitalizations, deaths, and positive test results from sentinel laboratories — according to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH), Office of Public Health Investigations and Epidemiology (OPHIE), which regularly monitors influenza activity in the State of Nevada.
By week 02 for the 2020-2021 season, there have been 23 hospitalizations, 1 death, and 0.02% specimens testing positive by the sentinel labs. That compares to week 02 for the 2019-2020 season, when there were 931 hospitalizations, 22 deaths, and 48.3% positivity. For the 2018-2019 season, there were 449 hospitalizations, 13 deaths, and 26.5% of positivity.
The season begins in the fall (on week 40) and continues into the next year (until week 20) with each week identified to coincide with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
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Nevada is not alone in this, with many states reporting low influenza activity this season. It is believed that these decreases are due to the adoption of COVID-19 precautions.
“Along with improved hygiene practices, significantly more people are wearing masks this season and avoiding close contact and group gatherings with others, which helps prevent the spread of the virus,” said Maximilian Wegener, Influenza Surveillance Coordinator with the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.