Kentucky health departments battling trifecta of illnesses ahead of holiday season

Kentucky health departments battling trifecta of illnesses ahead of holiday season
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:00 PM EST
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KENTUCKY (WKYT) - COVID, the flu and RSV are three illnesses that local health departments are battling this holiday season.

“I expect that after the holiday, we will definitely see an increase in all three of those viruses,” said Cassie Prather, the public health director of the Woodford County Health Department.

The reported number of COVID cases is down in some parts of the state, but they are not necessarily gone.

“We’re not tracking COVID in the same way as far as not as many people are doing a laboratory test, and we’re not getting as much reporting on that on a local health department level,” said Christie Green, public health director for the Cumberland Valley District Health Department.

Both health departments say they are seeing modest increases in respiratory illness hospitalizations.

“While they remain low to moderate are starting to climb, which is an indicator that more people are getting sick,” said Green.

In Woodford County, Prather said hospitalizations differ between the three illnesses.

“One thing that we are not seeing is an increase in COVID hospitalizations,” said Prather. “However, we are seeing an increase in RSV and flu hospitalizations.”

For those not vaccinated against COVID, the flu or RSV, it is not too late to get protected this holiday season.

“Get that vaccine today because, by next Thursday or Friday, you’re going to have some level of antibody development and will have some level of protection,” said Green. “You might not be fully protected today or for Thanksgiving next week, but you would be fully protected going into the Christmas season.”

For more information about COVID, the flu and RSV, visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services website.