Doctors expecting surge in illnesses like COVID-19, flu, RSV after holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Across the country, doctors are expecting a surge in illnesses like COVID-19, the flu and RSV in the next few weeks following the holidays.

In Jacksonville, cases of COVID-19 have started to rise in recent weeks.

Right now, there are a lot of people in town for the Gator Bowl game and for the holidays. News4JAX on Friday caught up with Crystal Todd downtown and asked her if she is still concerned about getting COVID-19.

“I do take COVID into consideration being that there are a lot of people coughing with colds and sneezing. I have had a cold myself that lasted for weeks,” Todd said. “So, yes, it’s a major concern.”

And some people might be ignoring the symptoms, believing that once you have had COVID-19, you don’t need to worry about it anymore. But. Dr. Shalika Katugaha, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Health, says that’s not the case.

“You actually can very much get COVID again. There are many different strains of it now around, right? And so you can definitely get that, the virus, again,” Katugaha said. “One day this will be like the cold — you will be able to get it again and again. There are many strains out there, so that’s why I would say getting the updated boosters is so important.”

News4JAX on Friday checked with Jacksonville-area hospitals about what they are seeing right now with COVID-19, the flu, and RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, which can be very serious for young children and older adults. Here are the numbers they provided:

Hospital Number of COVID-19 cases Number of RSV cases Number of people hospitalized with the flu
Baptist Health (6 hospitals in the area) 58 12 22
UF Health (2 area hospitals) 20 (4 in ICU) 2 10

Those numbers are far from what they were a year ago, but doctors are concerned there could be an increase if people don’t take steps now.

When we get to a good level, we can’t become complacent and let it go. Right now, we’re in a very different state,” Katugaha said. “But it’s very important for us not to let it go so that we go back to those high levels and high numbers.”

And that is why doctors still urge people to stay home if they’re sick.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.