Now health officials concerned about tripledemic: COVID, RSV, flu | News

Now it’s the tripledemic Central Valley health officials have been expressing concerns about for sometime now really since heading into the holiday season before Thanksgiving.

The rise in COVID-19 cases, the flu and RSV again is placing a strain on hospitals throughout the Valley. Throughout the month of December many hospitals in the Valley have stated they’ve again been at disaster levels.

Health organizations throughout the Valley also sent out another S.O.S. to their communities asking for their assistance in keeping the rise of COVID and flu cases as manageable as possible.

Sierra View Medical Center also participated in the S.O.S., posting it on its Facebook page earlier this week. Sierra View also placed a message on its Facebook page along with the S.O.S.

“It may feel like the pandemic has come to an end, but Central Valley hospitals are still experiencing the long-term effects of COVID-19,” the message states. “We urge you to stay safe by receiving your vaccines, wearing a mask in public areas and staying home if you feel sick. Help us protect our community by taking the necessary health precautions this holiday season.”

Of course people have already been meeting and gathering throughout the holiday season, but those who plan on attending gatherings this Christmas weekend and on the New Year’s weekend can still take some precautions.

Health officials urge everyone to be updated on their COVID vaccines and boosters and to receive their flu shots, although it does take about two weeks for vaccines and updated vaccine boosters to take full effect. But there are studies that show the benefits of receiving a vaccine or booster could begin as soon as hours.

Those who are gathering with others are encouraged to be tested for COVID. The S.O.S. posted on Sierra View’s Facebook page states “Don’t go around others if you feel sick. Encourage others to do the same.”

COVID-19 and RSV are hitting our community hard,” the S.O.S. message states. “Our care teams are overwhelmed. ERs are at disaster levels. We’re asking for your help. Help save your health system and the people who care for us all.”

The California Department of Public Health issues an update on the status of COVID every Thursday. A concerning stat for Tulare County that was released on Thursday is hospitalizations due to COVID are up to 49 in the county, up six from the previous day.

Since Veterans Day the number of hospitalizations in the county has increased significantly. On November 10, CDPH reported there were 11 hospitalizations in the county. That number increased to 19 in one week by November 17.

But in two weeks the number then nearly doubled to 37 on December 1. That number remained stable for a couple of weeks but there was another increase as CDPH reported on Thursday Tulare County had 49 hospitalizations.

And the fear is for a post-holiday surge in January that has happened in past years. The positive test rate in Tulare County was reported at 9.2 percent on Thursday which is lower than the state’s rate of 10.6 percent.

But the pattern in the past is Tulare County trails the rest of the state and its positive test rate continues to rise.

As far as ICU beds there were 16 ICU beds available in Tulare County on Thursday, two less than the previous day. So the county still hasn’t reached the dire level in which there were virtually no ICU beds available during the worst stages of the pandemic.

The number of deaths in Tulare County due to COVID has remained the same for several weeks as CDPH again reported that figure at 1,546 on Thursday.

Since March 11, 2020 there have been 124,848 cases in Tulare County. Over the last seven days, the county has averaged 55 cases a day which is equivalent to 11.4 cases per 100,000.

As far as RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, it’s a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms and most recover in a week or two. But RSV can be serious for infants and adults.

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among children less than 1 year old.

Symptoms include a runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. Symptoms come in stages and not all at once.