COVID 19 UPDATE: 17 August 2020: Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) are below baseline but higher than typically seen at this time of year.

Two surveillance networks are being used to track outpatient or emergency department (ED) visits for illness with symptoms compatible with COVID-19.

  • Nationally, ILI activity remains below baseline for the seventeenth week but is higher than typically seen at this time of year.
  • Nationally, during week 32, the percentage of visits reported by ILINet participants for ILI was 1.1% and has declined for three consecutive week; the percentage of visits for CLI reported to NSSP was 2.6% and has declined for four consecutive weeks.
  • Recent changes in health care seeking behavior, including increasing use of telemedicine, recommendations to limit emergency department (ED) visits to severe illnesses, and increased social distancing, are likely affecting data reported from both networks, making it difficult to draw conclusions at this time. Tracking these systems moving forward will give additional insight into illness related to COVID-19.

Key Points

  • Nationally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and the percentages of visits for ILI and CLI have continued to decrease since mid-July.
  • The overall cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate was 144.1 per 100,000; rates were highest in people 65 years of age and older (394.2 per 100,000) followed by people 50-64 years (217.0 per 100,000). Cumulative hospitalization rates will increase as the pandemic continues.
  • Based on death certificate data, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 (PIC) increased from week 26 – week 30 (weeks ending June 27 – July 25) after declining for 11 weeks since mid-April. The percentage of deaths due to PIC for week 32 is 8.1%, lower than the percentage during week 31 (12.5%), but above the epidemic threshold. These percentages will likely increase as more death certificates are processed.
  • All surveillance systems aim to provide the most complete data available. Estimates from previous weeks are subject to change as data are updated with the most complete data available.