In Pennsylvania, statewide surveillance includes, among other things, absenteeism for 300 sentinel schools and reports from 150 sentinel health care providers. These systems provide a sense of less-severe flu cases in the state and are showing similar declines to those seen in ER visits and flu hospitalizations, Kriedeman says.
But even with a real decline or leveling out of flu activity, the battle's not over, said Doc Kokol, director of communications for the Florida Department of Health. The state tracks visits to the emergency room and gauges physicians' visits from reports of 100 sentinel physicians throughout the state, and in a press release Tuesday, state officials reported 1,082 lab-confirmed cases of H1N1, and 167 deaths.
"We are beginning to see somewhat of a plateau, but that doesn't mean that flu has leveled off….H1N1 flu, like other [kinds of] flu, goes in waves; this [report] is really only a snapshot in time."
In Maryland, Colmers voices a similar caution: "Why [it's declining], or whether it will be sustained, we don't know…[so] we are all saying that we are not out of the woods yet."