COVID-19 and increase in respiratory illnesses pose threat to hospital capacity

Local News

NORTHERN UTAH (ABC4) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state, one Northern Utah hospital is seeing an early influx in respiratory illnesses. Health officials are urging the public to do its part in reducing flu-related illnesses and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“I am terrified,” Dr. Taki May told ABC4. Dr. May is the medical director for Intermountain Logan Regional Hospital is she said she’s worried for the hospital with flu season approaching.

“This year, we’ve already seen an unseasonable rise in our respiratory syncytial virus — RSV in children,” explained Dr. May. “We’ve seen some unseasonably early viruses in adults leading to hospitalizations.”

“Obviously, it’s concerning,” added Bear River Health Department Health Officer Jordan Mathis. “We are moving into our respiratory season, and we’re seeing this level of COVID and it’s compounded with influenza and RSV.”

This current rise in respiratory illnesses, health officials told ABC4, comes after a quiet flu season last year. “We were blessed last year with the fact that we had virtually no influenza and on your pediatric side, none of your typical respiratory viruses because we were masked, and we were promoting social distancing,” Dr. May emphasized.

With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and early respiratory illnesses at the hospital, health officials — like Jordan Mathis — say this flu season “is concerning, and we’re asking individuals to do everything they can to help the collective community.”

Dr. May told ABC4 that includes getting vaccinated and staying home when you’re feeling sick even if you are vaccinated until you can get tested for COVID-19. “You may just think you have the common cold, but you could be spreading that virus to others.”

Dr. May and Jordan Mathis believe this flu season everyone needs to get involved to help keep hospitals from hitting capacity. “We need to be safe, and I want everybody to be wearing their masks whenever they’re not able to social distance, or whenever they’re indoors,” Dr. May added.

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