Statewide flu activity increases from moderate to high

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Statewide flu activity has reached high levels across California, which has the potential to add to an already concerning number of hospitalizations of children due to the spread of winter viruses including respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and COVID-19. 

State public health leaders are reminding Californians that masking in indoor public places, among other safety measures, is effective at slowing the spread of respiratory viruses that are making children, and the elderly, very sick.

“RSV and flu, and now COVID-19, are on the rise — leading to the hospitalization of our youngest and most vulnerable Californians who need all of us to help protect them,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomás Aragón. “So we’re reminding Californians about the effective mitigation and safety measures they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones, including getting the flu shot, keeping up to date with their COVID-19 booster, and masking in indoor public places.”

Hospitals across the state are working to add pediatric beds as quickly as possible, but the number of children who need hospitalization is currently outpacing their ability to expand. Hospitals typically have about 35 to 40% open pediatric intensive care unit beds, but that number is down to about 20% statewide. It’s even lower – below 12% – in some regions.

Source: California Department of Public Health

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