Wisconsin DHS: Flu cases hit first ‘peak’

Flu case numbers are rising sharply
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:57 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A weekly Respiratory Virus Surveillance Report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows a rise in flu cases across the state.

DHS reported nearly 9,000 positive cases for the week ending in Dec. 17.

“I think there’s every indication that we are at... at least our first peak,” Wisconsin DHS Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Thomas Haupt said.

“We’ve been certainly trying to get the message out that it is a dangerous year with at least three viruses... and actually there’s more respiratory viruses going around than that,” Haupt explained. “We expect it will increase after the holidays with all the travel. That’s just something that happens every year.”

Dr. Cynthia Fisher said ThedaCare has seen a record-number of urgent care patients because of what some are calling a ‘tripledemic’... flu, RSV and COVID.

“We did a special shoutout at ThedaCare to our urgent cares on December 16 because they registered and saw 274 patients in one day,” Dr. Fisher said. “That is just a testament to how much viral illness is out there right now.”

Testing for influenza is hitting some roadblocks.

“There’s also a shortage of testing swabs–influenza swabs. You may or may not get one of those swabs,” Dr. Fisher said.

ThedaCare issuing the following statement:

Doctors have a few tips for anyone ringing in the new year with friends and family.

““I think we need to get people kind of thinking like we were a couple years ago when COVID first started. Remembering the good hand washing, masking, social distancing,” Dr. Rachael Vandenlangenberg with Bellin Health said. “These illnesses are not going away. There’s really high activity right now so do everything you can to protect yourself and make smart choices about your gathering sizes.”

Dr. Fisher continued, “We want you to stay safe. We want you to stay healthy. You can still have a good time doing all those things while taking the proper precautions.”

Haupt advised anyone showing symptoms to stay home this New Year’s Eve.

“If you’re not feeling well, don’t go out. Don’t expose other people to what you might have. You may feel it’s just an allergy to your Christmas tree but it’s actually... you have the start of influenza or RSV.”