No signs of respiratory virus surge in York upon relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Los Angeles, CA - February 09: Lawrence Taylor, 77, waits for his turn to get COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination site launched by Los Angeles Councilman Curren Price Jr. at South Park Recreation Center on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times/TNS)

There is no indication that respiratory illnesses are on the rise in York County even as surges elsewhere in the country are attributed to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Since states began lifting mask mandates and eliminating gathering restrictions, some — particularly in the South— have seen an increase in illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But that's not the case in York, despite state health officials issuing a warning last month about an increase, said Dr. Matt Howie, director of the York City Health Bureau.

“We are seeing cases of it, but we’re not seeing a surge of them at this point yet,” Howie said.

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Although RSV season typically comes during the fall and winter, detection dropped drastically this past year, presumably because of individuals wearing masks and social distancing, according to the CDC.

With infants and toddlers unaccustomed to the typical levels of RSV, they are more susceptible, the agency stated — and now there's no way to know for sure when cases will peak or how long it will last.

Last month, the CDC issued a warning to 13 southern states that RSV had been detected with increasing frequency, particularly among infants and toddlers, since March.

As a result, the agency encouraged increased testing for RSV among patients who had symptoms of a respiratory illness but tested negative for COVID-19.

The state Health Department on June 23 issued a notice to health professionals warning of an unusually high number of cases of both RSV and other respiratory illnesses this summer.

In the notice, the department echoed the CDC's recommendation of increased testing for RSV among patients who had symptoms of a respiratory illness but tested negative for COVID-19.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.