Now it’s the triple demy that health officials in the Central Valley have been concerned about for some time since the pre-Thanksgiving holiday season rolled around.
Rising cases of COVID-19, influenza and RSV are again straining hospitals across the Valley. Throughout the month of December, many hospitals in the Valley said they were back in distress.
Health organizations across the Valley also sent another SOS to their communities, asking for assistance in keeping the surge in COVID and flu cases as manageable as possible.
Sierra View Medical Center also participated in the SOS, posting it on its Facebook page earlier this week. Sierra View also posted a message on its Facebook page along with SOS
“It may seem like the pandemic is over, but hospitals in the Central Valley are still experiencing the long-term effects of COVID-19,” the release said. “We urge you to stay safe by getting your vaccinations, wearing a mask in public 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 met and gathered during the holiday season, but those planning to attend gatherings this Christmas weekend and New Year’s weekend can still take some precautions.
Health officials are urging everyone to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccines and boosters and to get their flu shots, even though it takes about two weeks for the vaccines and updated vaccine boosters to be fully effective. But there are studies that show the benefits of getting a shot or booster can start as soon as hours.
Those gathering with others are encouraged to get tested for COVID. An SOS posted on Sierra View’s Facebook page reads, “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 SOS message said. “Our care teams are overwhelmed. Emergency services are at distress levels. We ask for your help. Help save your healthcare system and the people who care for us all.”
The California Department of Public Health issues an update on the state of COVID every Thursday. A troubling statistic for Tulare County that was released Thursday is that 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 Nov. 10, CDPH reported 11 hospitalized in the county. This number increased to 19 in a week to November 17.
But after two weeks, the number almost doubled to 37 on December 1. That number had held steady for several weeks, but there was a new increase, as CDPH reported Thursday, Tulare County had 49 hospitalizations.
And the fear is of a post-holiday spike in January, which has happened in recent years. Tulare County’s positive test rate was reported at 9.2 percent Thursday, lower than the statewide rate of 10.6 percent.
But the pattern in the past has been that Tulare County has followed the rest of the state, and the positive test rate has continued to rise.
As for intensive care beds, there were 16 intensive care beds in Tulare County on Thursday, two fewer than the previous day. So the county has not yet reached the dire level where there are virtually no intensive care 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 the CDPH again reported that figure at 1,546 on Thursday.
As of March 11, 2020, there are 124,848 cases in Tulare County. Over the past seven days, the county has averaged 55 cases per day, which equates to 11.4 cases per 100,000.
As for RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, this is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, and most recover within a week or two. But RSV can be serious for babies and adults.
RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age.
Symptoms include runny nose, decreased appetite, cough, sneezing, fever and wheezing. Symptoms come in stages, not all at once.