COVID spike plus flu and RSV puts Bay Area hospitals under pressure

Bay Area health officials said Wednesday that a substantial increase in flu activity and other
respiratory viruses
since the beginning of the month it has led to an increase in emergency department visits and is putting a strain on healthcare systems across the region.

“This is the first year that we have faced not only COVID, but also increased influenza activity and unusually high levels of RSV,” said Santa Clara County Deputy Health Director Dr. Sarah Rudman, during a press conference. “These are two other types of viruses that can also possibly cause the same respiratory symptoms as COVID, but can also cause severe respiratory illness, or even life-threatening illness.”

Santa Clara County
The health department said the percentage of emergency department visits for influenza-like illness is three times higher this year than it was during the 2019-2020 flu season, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the agency has launched a
wastewater data dashboard
to monitor the concentration of influenza in the county, one of the first of its kind in the US.

The tool, which is widely used to monitor coronavirus levels, serves as an early warning system for hospitals and healthcare systems.

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