By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
One perk of coronavirus-related shutdowns has been that many common viruses in Wyoming, including influenza, have been on a downturn, according to health officials.
Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti confirmed to Cowboy State Daily that the volume of influenza cases in the state were “extremely low,” possibly even down to 10% of what they normally would be in mid-January.
“We are receiving sporadic reports of both Influenza A and Influenza B strains,” she said. “The precautions intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as the changes in people’s activities are likely a factor behind lower flu activity.”
The Wyoming Public Health Laboratory tests for the flu along with the coronavirus when a person gets a nasal swab for COVID-19.
According to a 2020 study, Wyoming had the 48th lowest flu vaccination coverage rate among adults in the U.S. and is dead last for flu vaccinations for children 17 and under.
In October, the combination of coronavirus and the flu had generated concern on the part of the state’s public health officer.
“As we approach a new flu season, we know flu viruses will circulate while COVID-19 remains a threat,” Dr. Alexia Harrist said. “Because there are fewer restrictions in Wyoming now than in the spring, we are concerned about the potential harm to our residents and strain on our healthcare system from the combined threat of both influenza and COVID-19.”