Flu hospitalizations on the uptick with peak season still weeks away

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 4:49 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - As holiday fever grows this winter season, so does the amount of people coming down with an actual fever.

According to NBC News, Louisiana is one of 28 states experiencing “very high flu activity.” Dr. Jose Zapatero, the Chief Medical Officer at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, said nine patients are currently hospitalized with the flu and seven with COVID-19.

The drastic rise in flu cases comes as the U.S. is experiencing what is being called a triple demic with the spread of RSV, the flu and COVID-19. While RSV cases are down, Dr. Zapatero said flu and COVID-19 cases are on the uptick. He reported that one in every four patients locally experiencing flu-like symptoms is testing positive for the virus.

“With a positivity rate of 25 percent, that means the flu is out there quite a bit,” said Dr. Zapatero. “A lot of people do have it, and they could be transmitting it to other people.”

Dr. Zapatero said that percentage is catching up to what hospitals experienced during the high points of the omicron variant at a 33% positivity rate. With the expected peak of the flu season still weeks away, the Centers for Disease Control warns that flu cases are set to break record numbers that have not been reported in over two decades.

This leaves health experts concerned as families are getting ready to gather during the holidays.

“Right now we are starting off with pretty high numbers, and I think Thanksgiving propelled those, but with Christmas coming up and families getting together, that may be an opportunity where we can see at the end of December and January these numbers really go high,” said Dr. Zapatero.

The main symptoms that those being hospitalized with the flu are coughing, shortness of breath and fever.

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