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Where CT stands on RSV, flu and COVID-19 infections before the holiday weekend

A sign placed in the children's medicine section, Monday, Dec.19, 2022, at a Walgreens in New York indicates the lack of available over-the-counter cold and flu treatments. Surging demand has forced CVS and Walgreens to limit sales of cold and flu medicines as a "tripledemic" of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV infections is widespread across the nation.
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A sign placed in the children's medicine section at a Walgreens in New York on Dec. 19, 2022, indicates the lack of over-the-counter cold and flu treatments. Surging demand has forced CVS and Walgreens to limit sales of cold and flu medicines as a "tripledemic" of COVID-19, influenza and RSV infections spreads across the nation.

Heading into the height of winter holiday travel, respiratory illnesses remain on the rise in Connecticut.

Respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, appears to have peaked. But influenza and COVID-19 cases are ticking up. Compared to roughly a month ago, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut increased by around 50%. Hospitalizations remain lower than rates at this time last year.

David Banach, an infectious disease doctor and hospital epidemiologist at UConn, said influenza infections have been increasing in Connecticut in the last few weeks.

“In terms of influenza, our transmission here in Connecticut is classified as a very high level,” he said. “The COVID community level right now is at medium, but we are seeing high levels of community transmission.”

Banach said that given the winter season, he expects illnesses to be circulating with more indoor gatherings.

Older adults and children, who are most at risk for flu, are also experiencing the most infections. COVID-19 has a greater impact on older adults and the immunocompromised. RSV has shown the highest impact and hospitalizations in young children and can also impact adults 65 and older.

Banach said it’s important for the public to be aware of these three viruses over the next couple of months. The primary way to avoid these infections is through vaccinations and masking. He said it’s not too late to get a flu shot and to keep up with the latest COVID booster shots.

“The vaccines are really critical and the cornerstone of what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” he said.

Banach also suggested other precautions before gathering for the holidays such as masking and rapid testing to add another level of protection to those who may be more vulnerable to these illnesses.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled David Banach's last name. It is Banach, not Branch.

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