Maury Regional Health reports on respiratory illness


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Respiratory illnesses are impacting communities across the country, and southern Middle Tennessee is no exception.

Maury Regional Health (MRH) reported it performed a total of 360 tests for influenza (flu) A/B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 from Nov. 11 through Dec. 4. There were 63 positive tests for influenza A (17.9% positivity rate), zero for influenza B, 35 for COVID-19 (9.7%) and nine for RSV (2.6%). MRH also had 12 patients hospitalized with the flu as of Dec. 6.

“We usually see an increase in cases of respiratory illness and hospitalizations during the late fall and early winter; however, we are currently experiencing a higher number of flu cases compared to prior years,” said Deborah L. Goldsmith, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Maury Regional Medical Center. “Unfortunately, all of these illnesses spread rapidly, so when we gather with loved ones for the holidays it’s easy to transmit them. Please remember to cover your cough. If you need to cough or sneeze around others, do it into the crook of your elbow to avoid spreading infections.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that seasonal flu activity has been high this year in the U.S., and that trend isn’t slowing down.

According to the CDC, there have been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from flu so far this season nationally. The national cumulative hospital rate for this time of year is at its highest point since 2010-2011.

“We’ve already seen a very active flu season nationally and in southern Middle Tennessee, so we continue to recommend everyone who is able to get vaccinated annually against the flu and be fully vaccinated for COVID-19,” said MRH CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “This is particularly important for those at greater risk, including the elderly and immunocompromised. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands regularly, and if you’re sick, stay home.”

The single best way to avoid complications from respiratory illness is getting vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19. The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. The COVID-19 bivalent booster is also now available for everyone 5 years and older if it has been at least two months since getting their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

For more information on respiratory illnesses, including symptoms, testing and vaccinations, visit

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