Virus levels still high in 26 states: CDC

As respiratory virus season's effect on the nation's healthcare system wanes, 26 states are still seeing high levels of activity, according to the CDC's latest update, which reflects data through the week of Feb. 24. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations took a 10% dip, marking the seventh straight week of decreases. Admission rates for respiratory syncytial virus also continue to decrease among those at highest risk of severe illness: young children and adults 65 and older. 

Meanwhile, flu activity remains elevated in many parts of the country, and Central states saw an increase in influenza test positivity. Flu admissions (10,148) also held steady relative to the week prior. Emergency department visits for all three viruses continued to decline, though flu still accounted for the highest number of visits (75,561).

Twenty-six states reported high levels of virus activity — a reflection of the weekly percentage of outpatient or ED visits for fever and cough or sore throat — for the week ending Feb. 24, including five that reported "very high" levels: Arkansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico and Ohio. 

Twenty-one states reported high levels: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. New York City also saw high levels. 

Virus activity levels reflect "how the percentage in the most recent week compares to what the jurisdiction typically experiences during low circulation periods," according to the CDC. There are 13 activity levels, with levels 11 through 13 representing "very high" activity. Those with very high activity in the most recent week reported levels between 11 and 12. 

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