Health, News

Respiratory illness cases remain steady

by Kate Evans

The number of area seasonal flu, RSV and COVID cases are remaining level, according to local health officials.

River Bend Family Medicine medical assistant Becky Huff said that their office had been seeing pretty steady amounts of flu, COVID and RSV cases along with some strep, bronchitis and other normal winter illnesses.

Health officials urge everyone to get an updated

COVID-19 booster shot and their annual seasonal influenza vaccine now. Pneumonia vaccines are also recommended for children and adults of all ages.

COVID Health Dept. advice

As of Friday, January 12, the Morgan County COVID-19 community level is medium. The Morgan County Health Department advises that individuals who are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID wear a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public and take additional precautions.

Consider self-testing to check COVID infection before social or household contact with someone at high risk of getting very ill. Wear a high-quality mask when indoors with them.

Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses.

Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive COVID test or exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Get tested if you have symptoms.

Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Follow recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID.

People can choose to wear a face mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect themselves and others.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ s (CDC) flu update noted that

seasonal flu activity continues but is declining in most areas. CDC officials continue to recommend that everyone age six months and older get flu vaccines as long as flu activity continues.

Seasonal flu activity began early this season. The majority of flu cases have been Influenza A.

Virginia is currently experiencing high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, while Pennsylvania and Maryland ILI levels are considered moderate. West Virginia is showing minimal ILI activity. ILI is respiratory illness that includes fever plus a cough or sore throat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that so far this season there have been at least 24 million illnesses, 260,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths from flu.

There have been a total of 79 pediatric deaths from influenza so far nationwide.


Morgan County had 11 new cases of COVID-19 and four active COVID cases as of Monday, January 16.

To date Morgan County has seen 4,363 confirmed

COVID-19 cases and 780 probable cases-a total of 5,143 COVID cases. Some 5,062 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. Morgan County has had 77 total deaths from COVID-19. Some 33.7% of Morgan County’ s population is fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Booster doses are at 17.9%.

Washington County has had a total of 618 deaths from COVID-19 and 40,473 confirmed COVID cases as of January 16.


Symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. Individuals are generally infected with RSV as an infant or toddler, but people of any age can be infected, said CDC officials.

Treatment involves over the counter fever reducers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen (don’t give children aspirin) and drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children younger than one year old, according to the

CDC. Some older adults and infants younger than six months may need hospitalization if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated.


Preventing RSV, flu and COVID-19 involves the same measures.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve-not your hands.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Stay home if you or your child are sick, except to get medical care.

Don’t send a sick child to school or daycare.

Avoid close contact with others, such as kissing, shaking hands and sharing cups and eating utensils.

Clean frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, telephones, counter-tops, cell phones and keyboards.

Consider wearing a face mask, especially if you develop a runny nose, cough or fever.