As the month of November comes to a close, Breathitt Countians are now looking at a potential health crisis, being labeled as local health officials as a “tridemic”. Making up the “tridemic”, is Influenza (Flu), COVID, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Flu cases are surging in the county and the CDC has listed Kentucky overall as “very high” on its latest flu surveillance report. For comparison, this time last year Kentucky had only five reported cases of the flu.

Health officials are saying that relaxed COVID guidelines may be playing a role in the increased number of flu cases plaguing Breathitt County and other parts of the state. “People are now gathering, especially for the holidays, and without social distancing and mask mandates in place, this could be a really severe flu season.”

One thing that local health officials and medical professionals agree on in unison is that all Breathitt Countians should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. And if suffering from any symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, cough, sore throat, respiratory issues, etc.), one needs to get tested for the flu and COVID. 

COVID may appear to be on the back burner, but in actuality, it is still very much a health threat. Breathitt County is currently in the green on the latest COVID map, but health officials warn not to get comfortable with these results. New subvariants keep popping up and with the Thanksgiving holiday just concluded and Christmas less than a month away, Breathitt County could see a spike in COVID over the next few months. This has been the case the last two years. 

RSV is on the rise and can be very serious if contacted by kids as it is highly contagious. State officials are very concerned with this illness as hospitals are filling up with the large number of kids being affected with RSV.

According to the Kentucky School Board Association, more than 60 schools have had to close and around 200,000 students have been out of school due to sickness. Recently, Jackson City Schools and Breathitt County Schools have had to call off in-person classes due to a high number of absences as a result of illness.

The latest COVID information provided by the Kentucky COVID database, Breathitt County has reported eight new cases; has 5.26 percent positivity rate; and a nine percent incidence rate. There has been a total of 68 COVID related deaths in Breathitt County.

According to Megan Deaton, Disease Investigator for the Breathitt County Health Department, flu cases are drastically increasing by the day in Breathitt County. “On average we are receiving 20 or more (flu) cases a day now. And an approximate number for the month of November until now is around 300 reported cases.”  

For a complete comparison checklist of symptoms, vaccine information, and prevention methods, contact the Breathitt County Health Department at 606-666-5274.

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