21 states where virus activity remains high

While respiratory virus activity remains elevated, most parts of the country are seeing some levels of decrease, according to the latest CDC updates. 

In the week ending Jan. 20, COVID-19 admissions fell for the second week straight while flu hospitalizations fell for the third consecutive week. There were about 134,000 emergency department visits for COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus in the same week, down from more than 282,000 at the end of December. 

Overall, 21 states reported high levels of virus activity for the week ending Jan. 20, down from 37 two weeks ago. Included in this total are four states (Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee) that saw "very high" levels. New York City also reported very high levels. The following 17 states reported high levels: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. 

The CDC measures virus activity levels as the weekly percentage of visits to an outpatient provider or emergency department for fever and cough or sore throat. They reflect "how the percentage in the most recent week compares to what that jurisdiction typically experiences during low circulation periods." There are 13 activity levels, with 1 representing "minimal" activity and 13 representing "very high" activity. Those with very high activity for the most recent week saw levels between 11 and 13. 

While virus season's burden on the healthcare system has started to ease, health officials anticipate the nation could see some level of uptick again in February, particularly with the flu. 

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