State Health Officials Urge Families to Take Preventive Measures During Current Respiratory Virus Surge

November 03, 2022

EDITORS NOTE: ASTHO President and Chief Medical Officer of the Alaska Department of Health Anne Zink, MD, FACEP; State Health Officer and Medical Director of the Louisiana Department of Health Joseph Kanter, MD, MPH; and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Manisha Juthani, MD, are available for media interviews.

ARLINGTON, VA—Today, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) President and Chief Medical Officer of the Alaska Department of Health Anne Zink, MD, FACEP, issued the following statement given the rise in respiratory illness activity across the country and increasing strain on hospitals.

"We are concerned about the surge in children's respiratory illnesses circulating in communities across the country. Many states are seeing a spike in children’s hospitalizations from COVID-19, flu, and RSV; adult cases are also on the rise. Unfortunately, this means that many hospitals are at or near capacity and it is beginning to strain healthcare systems.

Public health officials are currently partnering with hospital systems throughout the country to increase bed capacity, explore ways to address workforce shortfalls, promote immunization, and communicate with the public on the best ways to prevent the spread of these diseases. The partnership between public health and healthcare is essential in ensuring individuals have the knowledge and tools to prevent illness and can access care when needed.

State and territorial public health officials urge parents and families to take precautions now in order to be healthy and to avoid putting strain on hospital systems. The best way to avoid serious complications from many respiratory illnesses is for everyone to stay up to date on their vaccinations. Other prevention measures such as frequent handwashing and staying home when you are sick can also help stop the spread of illness.”


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.