LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health weekly report shows a minor increase in flu activity while COVID-19 and RSV cases declined for the week of Oct. 14.
The report shows Arkansas has what is classed as a “minimal” activity level for flu for the week, scoring a two out of a possible 13 on the public health scale. Emergency department visits for flu made up 2.11% of the total visits for the week, showing a mild increase compared to the previous week’s 1.67%.
COVID-19 symptoms were seen in 1.98% of emergency room visits for the week, down from the prior week’s 2.13%. RSV symptoms were in 0.18% of cases, down from 0.2% for the previous week.
Health officials noted that while the report does reflect activity, they believe it only shows a fraction of COVID-19 and flu cases due to limited reporting requirements. It adds the caution that RSV is not mandated as a reportable disease in the state.
As of Oct. 14, the 2023-24 season has recorded no deaths due to flu. The state had 160 flu-related deaths in the 2022-23 flu season, including two pediatric deaths. Of that group, 76.3% had not been vaccinated, the report stated.
For the Oct. 14 week, seven people died due to COVID-19 complications, adding to the total of 466 people who died due to coronavirus since Jan. 1.
The first nursing home flu outbreak has been reported for the 2023-24 season for the week of Oct. 14. The 2022-23 flu season had a total of 21 nursing homes where outbreaks were reported.
The weekly report noted that school absentee rates for the current flu season were not yet available.