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Experts Share Analysis on Decrease in Winter Viral Infections at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena

MyMichigan Health authorities, the healthcare organization that owns the Alpena hospital, report that the influenza and COVID-19 trends this winter were ‘both substantially less’ compared to previous years at the MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena. The report from Vicky Diehl, an infection prevention nurse with MyMichigan Health, revealed fewer hospitalizations related to respiratory diseases and a higher number of non-critical cases in the emergency room.

As the peak influenza and COVID-19 season subsides, Diehl anticipates cases will drop significantly by the end of April. However, she warned of a potential uptick in flu cases over the next two months due to the return of people from regions like Florida where different virus strains might be prevalent.

Diehl confirmed there were no reported fatalities related to influenza or COVID-19 at the Alpena hospital over the current winter season. This information comes concurrently with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement of the state’s first pediatric death linked to influenza during this flu season.

Highlighting the significance of understanding disease trends, Sherry Warczynski, manager of regulatory compliance and infection prevention at MyMichigan Health, emphasized the role close indoor interactions play in disease spread during winter. Warczynski’s statements mirror new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which recommends that patients can return to normal activities once respiratory symptoms improve and 24 hours have passed without the need for fever-reducing medication.

The CDC’s new guidelines also stress the importance of staying updated with vaccinations for respiratory diseases, maintaining hygiene practices including regular handwashing, and covering coughs and sneezes. Other preventive measures include increasing indoor ventilation, regular testing for influenza and COVID-19, medication to prevent severe illness, and mask-wearing for a period of five days.

Addressing changes to the CDC guidelines, Warczynski clarified that hospitals often adhere to stricter standards, potentially resulting in patients being isolated for durations longer than the CDC’s public guidance. This aligns with hospitals’ endeavours to mitigate the risk and spread of infections while ensuring the health and safety of their patients.


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