'Flurona' in California: Testing site in LA County confirms first known local case

A COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles County confirmed the first known local case of the "flurona," – a combination of the flu and the coronavirus.

Officials at the 911 COVID-19 testing site in Brentwood said a child tested positive for both Influenza A and SARS-CoV-2.  In addition, the boy’s mother tested positive for COVID-19 the next day. 

The two had just returned from a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas. However, officials say the other family members tested negative for COVID-19.

Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.

"Concurrent infection with more than one respiratory virus is exceedingly common and there is no reason to expect that SARS-CoV-2 should be an exception to this rule. We have seen SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza multiplex test results where both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 were positive," the LA County Health Department stated. 

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"Our new year’s resolution was to flatten the curve. And now, simply put, it’s now turned into a nightmare. The technicians are fatigued. Sometimes it feels like there’s no end in sight," said Steve Farzam, the COO of 911 COVID Testing.

The CDC reported that influenza vaccination rates are lower this year than in previous years.

This comes after an unvaccinated pregnant woman tested positive for both illnesses last week at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, the Times of Israel reported.

RELATED: Israel detects case of 'flurona' in unvaccinated pregnant woman

Health officials are also monitoring a new COVID-19 variant called IHU that was discovered in France

RELATED: New COVID-19 variant named IHU discovered in France

At the Brentwood testing site on Getty Center Drive, healthcare workers are testing nearly 3,000 people a day.

"Our resources have been so inundated with the vast amount of folks being who are getting tested. We’re seeing folks who do have some basic cold symptoms, getting repeated tests, showing up almost every day of the week for a COVID test," Farzam said. "If we can capture influenza-positive early on, then we could presumably prevent them from coming back every day, so we can save those tests for the people who really do need them."

He added they will be adding new testing sites in the coming days as residents scramble for COVID-19 tests.

RELATED: Search continues for at-home COVID test kits

Farzam noted the current trend is that 30% of residents are testing positive, which is up from 2% from a month ago. "The blizzard is in full effect and we’re feeling it," he said. 

The highly contagious Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19 continue to fuel surges nationwide. 

On Tuesday, COVID-19 hospitalizations surged past the 2,000 mark at LA County hospitals, while hospitalizations in Orange County eclipsed the summer surge.


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