Community Health > Disease Prevention

Respiratory Illness

Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV are viral respiratory diseases that can cause more severe respiratory disease outcomes.

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Whitman County Respiratory Disease Activity Levels

When the percent of ED visits for a virus is above its activity level threshold*, it is a sign that there is increased spread of that virus.

Condition Status Current Week (2.4.24-2.10.24) Disease Activity Level Threshold*
COVID-19 Low 0.50% 4.00%
Influenza Elevated 1.20% 1.20%
RSV Elevated 0.50% 0.30%

*Activity Level Threshold Calculation Methodology

Disease activity level thresholds for COVID-19, influenza, and RSV are calculated using the Moving Epidemic Method (MEM). The epidemic threshold is calculated at the start of the respiratory season using data from the previous five seasons.

Because COVID-19 is a new disease that started transmission in 2020 and does not yet have a clear seasonal pattern, the MEM multiple wave algorithm was used to classify waves. To calculate the epidemic threshold for COVID-19 for the 2023-24 season, we used data from February 2020 to September 2023.

To calculate the transmission alert thresholds for influenza and RSV for the 2023-24 season, we used data from the following seasons: 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2022-23. We excluded the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As our understanding of respiratory viruses continues to grow, we will re-evaluate and update our methods using newer scientific methods as they become available. Because the COVID-19 threshold was calculated from pandemic levels of disease, the threshold will change over time as disease levels change and become more endemic.

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