New Respiratory Virus Dashboards May Help Address Outbreaks Sooner

Senior living and long-term care operators have two new tools to help prepare for and reduce respiratory viruses circulating in their communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new respiratory disease dashboards that provide an early warning system and can serve as triggers for facilities to deploy measures to mitigate risks associated with these viruses.

The Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) provides real-time data on COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations in acute care hospitals in 13 states, based on lab-confirmed cases. While RESP-NET does not collect data on all hospitalizations caused by respiratory illnesses, it can describe admissions caused by the three viruses that account for a large proportion. Representing approximately 8% to 10% of the population, the tool allows users to compare rates between seasons and demographic groups, including age, sex, and race/ethnicity.  

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is a joint effort between the CDC and other public health organizations. The dashboard provides a combined view of emergency department visits for multiple respiratory conditions tracked through a nationwide network of federal partners, state and local health departments, and academic and private-sector collaborators. The system provides an early warning alert to identify unusual levels of certain illness or outbreaks in real time.

These resources provide important geographic and demographic insight and real-time data to identify virus trends, estimate disease burden across seasons, and implement proactive measures. With this knowledge, long-term and senior care communities can prevent the spread and reduce the severity of infectious diseases in both normal times and during public health crises.

Click to read more about RESP-NET and NSSP.