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Feeling Flu Sick? You’re not alone as COVID spikes again

By Kenneth Miller, Publisher

In my household alone no one has been exempted from a raging Flu bug that has had a grip me for the better part of the past two weeks as the winter weather takes fold during the holiday season.

Double vaccinated for COVID with one booster and the Flu vaccination as well, I can’t seem to shake it no maker what over the counter medicines I take.

It’s nagging, frustrating and a most helpless feeling that seems to worsen if I just stay in bed.

I learned this week that I am not alone with being infected by the Flu, cited by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the reason for nearly 4% of hospitalizations each week at Kaiser’s Northern California facilities, the highest in any of the prior four flu seasons.

In Los Angeles County, flu and COVID-19 cases are surging, and RSV — or respiratory syncytial virus — also remains at a high level.

“This triple threat … has a lot of potential to cause there to be significant circulating illness and to strain our healthcare system — both in terms of the number of beds that are available and the number of healthcare workers that are impacted by illness, which lowers the hospital’s capacity to take care of patients,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a recent briefing.

The flu positivity rate in L.A. County has reached 25%, a level not seen at this time of year in the last four years. “Clearly, we’re … off the charts,” Ferrer said.

“We already are seeing many individuals hospitalized for flu-related illness and complications. So please, we urge people to not just think of this as ‘just the flu.’ It’s not too late to get your seasonal flu shot,” she added.

California has recorded at least 36 flu-related deaths since the start of October, based on death certificate data. That figure is probably an undercount.

In the meanwhile, Los Angeles County appears in the midst of another full-blown coronavirus surge, with cases rising by 75% over the last week.

The Thanksgiving holiday vastly contributed to the spike with families and friends gathering in close quarters increasing exposures.

As the Flu forged to its highest levels,  the number of coronavirus-positive patients being cared for in hospitals jumped, sparking concerns about renewed stress on the region’s healthcare system and raising the specter of an indoor public mask mandate if the trends continue, possible within weeks.

“While there still is uncertainty about what the impact of COVID-19 will be this winter, there is mounting evidence that we are entering another COVID-19 surge,” said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

“There is a common line of thinking that the pandemic is over, that COVID-19 is no longer of concern,” Ferrer said. “But given both the increases in hospitalizations and the lack of certainty in the winter trajectory for COVID-19, it’s important to continue common-sense mitigation strategies that we know work.”

L.A. County reported an average of 3,721 coronavirus cases a day over the seven-day period ending Monday, up from 2,128 the prior week. The latest case rate is double what it was just before Thanksgiving, and triple the rate recorded the first week of November.

For the week that ended Saturday, L.A. County recorded 1,211 new hospital admissions of coronavirus-positive patients. That’s 12.1 new admissions for every 100,000 residents, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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