LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. - As the holiday season gets underway, health officials prepare for larger increases in illnesses across Los Angeles County.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the uptick in COVID-19 transmissions and other respiratory illnesses over the past two weeks is a trend they expect to see continue through the winter season.
Since Nov. 1, the average daily number of reported COVID-19 cases in LA County has increased 25 percent. Additionally, officials said that flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) spreads are also increasing in transmission.
- LA County reports first flu-related death of the season
- Masks required in certain settings again throughout California
Officials call this a "tripledemic," when all three viruses circulate and increase simultaneously, causing a greater chance for a strain on the county's health care system.
Because of this, officials are urging Angelenos to take caution in preparing for the winter season.
According to public health officials, the best course of action to maximize protection is by ensuring that vaccines are up-to-date.
More specifically, the LA County Department of Health advises the following:
- For people 6 months and older, an annual flu and, regardless of past vaccination status, the updated (2023-2024 formula) COVID-19 vaccine is recommended.
- People who are pregnant, those with very young children and people over 60 years old should speak to their provider about the RSV vaccine.
- People should stay home when they feel sick or are exhibiting symptoms, including a fever, cough, or sore throat, and test to detect a possible COVID-19 infection early.
- Treatments for COVID-19 and flu are routinely available with a prescription and can help to prevent severe illness, especially for those who are at high risk.
- Adults and children 12 years and older who test or are suspected positive for COVID, and have underlying health conditions or factors that may result in more severe illness from COVID-19, are eligible to take Paxlovid, which must be started within five days of symptom onset.
- Oseltamivir, available under the trade name Tamiflu, is approved for treatment of flu in adults and children 14 days old and older.
- People who are 65 years old and older, under 5 years old, pregnant or have underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or obesity, are at higher risk for complications and should seek medical care if they feel ill.