They include RSV, influenza as well as COVID-19.
Frederick, Md (KM) Hospitals across the country are seeing more patients with respiratory illnesses, including RSV, influenza and COVID-19. “An increase compared to last year in both influenza and RSV. Both individual diseases have peaked at different points, but we have definitely seen a much higher volume of those diseases this year compared to the last two,” says Dr. Luedwig Sardarian, Assistant Vice President for Medical Affairs with Frederick Health Hospital
He says COVID-19 is still a problem, but not as much as the past two years. “We’re seeing about 20 to 30 patients hospitalized per day which is a little bit up from where we were in the fall and the summer. But still quite manageable and obviously far lower that where we were last December and January, where we peaked over 100 cases in January,” he says.
The US Department of Health and Human Services says about 70,000 people nationwide have been hospitalized with the flu since the start of October, and around 19,500 were newly hospitalized the week ending November 27th.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 8.7-million influenza cases since October 1st, and that’s close to the 9-million cases estimated for the 2021-2022. flu season.
Despite this increase in flu cases, Dr. Sardarian says Frederick Health Hospital has been getting ready by increasing staff, and preparing for a surge in respiratory illness. . “The hospital has been quite prepared for both RSV and flu, and, of course, COVID is still around,” he says. “We’ve been able to manage and handle these different respiratory disease processes very effectively.”
But Frederick Health Hospital is still able to take care of patients with other illnesses, and injuries, such as those hurt in vehicle crashes. “We have currently have about 290 patients hospitalized. But we’ve learned over the last two years to flex way beyond 300, and again preparing staff and the units to be able to take care of any patient that walks into our emergency room,” says Dr. Sardarian.
He also says Frederick Health Hospital is getting ready for the projected increases in respiratory illnesses resulting from the holiday season when more people are socializing indoors. “We do typically see a blip or a surge following those gatherings. We saw it after Thanksgiving. We do anticipate that,” Dr. Sardarian says.
The best way to protect yourself, Dr. Sardarian says, is to get vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19, and consider wearing a mask when in close contact with other people, particularly when traveling by airplane or train.
By Kevin McManus