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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 29, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 2 days, 8 hours, 21 minutes ago

COVID-19 News-United States: Worrisome Rise Of SARS-CoV-2 And Influenza Infections In Northern Texas

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COVID-19 News-United States: Worrisome Rise Of SARS-CoV-2 And Influenza Infections In Northern Texas
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 29, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 2 days, 8 hours, 21 minutes ago
COVID-19 News-United States: As North Texas grapples with the winter season, a concerning surge in influenza (flu) and COVID-19 cases has emerged, prompting heightened alarms from health officials and raising questions about the region's preparedness to handle the escalating health crisis. This COVID-19 News-United States report delves into the latest developments, shedding light on the surge of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza infections, the impact on healthcare facilities, the demographic trends of those affected, and expert recommendations for mitigating the spread.


 
The Flu Outbreak Unfolds
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) most recent report for week 50 has Texas at the forefront, categorizing it as a level 10 with a "high" activity level for the influenza season.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm
 
This designation places Texas in the company of other states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wyoming, and New York, all grappling with elevated flu activity.
 
In Texas, the Department of State Health Services reported a 4.86% increase in positive flu tests during week 50, underscoring the gravity of the situation.
https://www.dshs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/LIDS-IDPS-%20Diseases/Influenza/2023/2023Wk50Dec22.pdf
 
Tarrant County, the third most populous county in the state, has experienced an alarming 8% surge in emergency room visits due to respiratory illnesses, encompassing COVID-19, flu, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Both flu A and B cases have demonstrated a consistent weekly increase, indicative of the widespread nature of the outbreak.
https://www.tarrantcountytx.gov/en/public-health.html
 
Denton County reported 129 positive influenza tests and 16 hospitalizations during the same period.
https://gis-covid19-dentoncounty.hub.arcgis.com/pages/covid-19cases
 
Dr Fahmi Farah, CEO and cardiologist at Bentley Heart Medical Center, anticipates that the upward trend in cases will persist well into January. Despite a 3% decline in flu vaccinations compared to the previous year, Dr Farah emphasizes the critical need for individuals to get vaccinated, stating that it is not too late to do so. Additionally, he stresses the importance of maintaining hand hygiene as a fundamental preventive measure.
 
The Resurgence of COVID-19
Simultaneously, there has been a notable resurgence of positive COVID-19 cases in North Texas. Hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area E, encompassing 19 counties, spiked to the highest level in two weeks, increasing from 553 to 555. />  
Stephen Love, President and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, urges the public not to panic. However, he emphasizes the ongoing presence and contagious nature of COVID-19, advocating for preventative measures such as frequent handwashing, the use of hand sanitizers, and, especially for those with underlying health issues, wearing masks in large crowds.
 
While RSV cases have witnessed a decline, as reported by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, health experts stress the importance of remaining vigilant and considering vaccinations. A specific RSV vaccine is available for pregnant women and infants during this season.
 
Impact on Healthcare Facilities
The impact of the flu and COVID-19 surge is palpable in healthcare facilities across North Texas. Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) reports that influenza-like illnesses constitute over 11% of the county's emergency room visits. Children, in particular, bear the brunt of the flu season, comprising 35% of emergency room patients under the age of four.
 
Dr David Winter, associated with Baylor Scott & White Health, attributes the rise in flu-like illnesses to holiday gatherings and increased indoor activities during cold weather. The U.S. CDC's latest report designates Texas as having high flu activity, and data from Dallas County shows a significant increase in flu activity from a 2.9% positivity rate in mid-November to 9.6% by early December.

The burden on healthcare facilities is a cause for concern as resources are stretched to accommodate the surge in cases. Emergency rooms are grappling with the influx of patients seeking medical attention for flu-like symptoms, adding strain to an already stressed healthcare system.
 
Recommendations and Future Outlook
Despite the challenges, health experts remain cautiously optimistic about managing the situation. Dr Winter recommends that individuals get vaccinated promptly, emphasizing that it's not too late to receive protection for the winter season. He underscores the need for caution, especially in indoor settings, as the flu is expected to continue increasing over the next few weeks.
 
In conclusion, the surge in flu and COVID-19 cases in North Texas is not only a cause for immediate concern but also underscores the importance of long-term strategies for public health preparedness. Collaborative efforts between healthcare authorities and the public are essential to mitigate the impact of these contagious respiratory illnesses. Staying informed, practicing good hygiene, and adhering to expert recommendations will be crucial in safeguarding the well-being of the community. As North Texas navigates through the winter season, it is imperative that the community remains vigilant and proactive in the face of this evolving health crisis.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News-United States, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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