Welcome to the Northeast edition of Outbreak Outlook! It is only available to paid subscribers. If you wish to become a paid subscriber and access region-specific information, please click the Subscribe Now button below. Thanks for reading! -Caitlin Rivers
The past week has seen a general rise in influenza-like illness (ILI) rates across the Northeast. On average, ILI rates in the region have increased from 2.6% to 2.9%, which is similar to the national average.
Multiple states are already near or above 4%, including New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. New Jersey posted the largest increase at +0.9%, followed by Connecticut at +0.4%, and New York at +0.4%. Nearly all Northeast states experienced rising ILI, except for Rhode Island which saw a small 0.1% decline. Flu season is definitely underway in the region.
Northeast Region: ILI Activity
Percent of doctors visits for ILI symptoms
Although the Northeast currently has the highest Covid-19 hospitalization rates in the nation, most states in the region are seeing a decline in activity. The regional weekly admission rate dropped from 5.3 to 4.9 per 100,000. The recent summer peak was 7, for reference.
Multiple states saw notable declines, including New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. New Hampshire posted the largest decrease.
Nearly all Northeast states experienced falling hospitalization rates except for Vermont, which saw a 1.2 increase in hospitalizations per 100,000.
Weekly change in key health indicators. COVID: new hospitalizations per 100,000.
I have something new for you this week! The plot above shows how Covid-19 activity changed for each state from one week to the next. The points at the start and the end of the arrow are the hospitalization rates during each of the weeks. The number given in a percent is the percent change. Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments.
RSV continues to make rapid gains across the Northeast—activity increased another 2 percentage points in the past week. Test positivity is now 10%, up from 8% last week and 6% two weeks ago. Nearly all states in the region are reporting increases this week. Those trends have been sustained for several weeks now.
Massachusetts continues to report the highest case positivity in the region at 15.8%. Pennsylvania has increased to 11.4%, up from 9.4% last week. Maine, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are all reporting PCR test positivity rates of 6-8%.
Vermont continues to stand apart, with a low test positivity of 1.3%; there is insufficient data for Rhode Island.
There is no suggestion that RSV has peaked in the region yet; last year test positivity rose to nearly 20% test positivity before declining. As cases continue to rise, remember to wash your hands frequently, clean frequently touched surfaces, and avoid touching your face.
Northeast Region: RSV Activity
Test Positivity, Percentage
I’m keeping an eye on several other respiratory and stomach bugs, but overall things are looking relatively quiet at the moment in the Northeast.
- Seasonal coronavirus activity remains low in the Northeast; this past week the numbers dipped a little, although that is likely just a blip, given that this is the time of year when we typically start to see sustained increases in cases.
- Human metapneumovirus, parainfluenza and adenovirus activity remains low.
- Over the past two weeks, norovirus (stomach bug) activity has slightly increased, reaching 5.7%. We might be seeing the start of a period of increased spread, which would be in keeping with seasonal trends from the past few years.
Northeast Region: Norovirus Activity
Test Positivity, Percentage
The following foods are being recalled because they are contaminated. Please check your cupboards and throw out any of these items:
New this week:
- Multiple brands of pet food – dog, cat, and catfish food (more info here and here) (Note: this poses a risk to pets and to the people that care for them, since Salmonella can be acquired via handling of the contaminated pet food and/or contact with infected animals. Several human cases, including in infants, have been tied to the pet food.)
- Tyson chicken nuggets (more info)
- Fresh cantaloupes sold under Malichita label (more info)
- Multiple brands of Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree (more info)
If you have food allergies, you may wish to review these FDA safety alerts and USDA alerts for foods with undeclared allergens.
- An outbreak of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis has led to the deaths of approximately 155,000 juvenile salmon. These fish were being raised at a Maine fishery focused on breeding endangered Atlantic salmon for wild release. TThe disease was detected shortly before the scheduled release of the fish. To avoid risking infection of the endangered wild population, the year’s stock was destroyed. The outbreak represents a setback to conservation efforts