Respiratory illnesses affect local schools, hospitals

RSV(MGN, CDC / Dr. H. Craig Lyerla)
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 5:34 PM EST
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, New York (WWNY) - The effects of respiratory illnesses can be seen at local schools and hospitals.

The Alexandria Central School District went to remote learning Monday in an effort to avoid the further spread of illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and the flu. Nearly 40 percent of students were absent last Friday.

Jefferson Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd says it’s happening all across the region.

“What we’re seeing is what schools all over the state, all over the nation are seeing. During the Covid era, during the period of time when we were all wearing masks, the number of cases of flu and RSV and colds and other things were suppressed,” he said.

At a news conference Saturday with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D. - NY), the Copenhagen Central School District superintendent said a large number of his students are missing class and it would help if the state would allow schools to make changes on the fly.

“We had 25 percent of our students out this week. I would love for the state to say maybe we could go remote for 3 days, clean our building, make sure that everybody can get back healthy,” said Scott Connell.

Schumer replied, “That’s a great idea.”

“Right now we can’t do that,” said Connell.

Schools aren’t the only ones being affected by respiratory illnesses. Hospitals are seeing more patients.

Lewis County Health System says it has seen 70 cases of RSV at the hospital since October. That’s an increase of 143 percent over last year.

Officials say the pediatric population is the one requiring the most hospital help right now.