As Thanksgiving kicked off the season of gatherings, combined with colder weather and more people spending time indoors, experts say it’s not surprising that there’s been an uptick in cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.
On Tuesday, officials with the county health department reported more than 2,300 new cases of COVID, with more than 1,000 people hospitalized for the virus.
“I mean, we try our best to keep good health, but that’s not enough nowadays. So, we’re just trying to figure out how we can curb these problems because it’s definitely becoming more of an issue,” L.A. County resident Jose Sanchez told KTLA’a Rachel Menitoff.
The L.A. County Health Department reported 5,400 COVID cases over the holiday weekend, from Friday to Monday, and the numbers might even be higher because many people take at-home tests or don’t test for the virus at all.
Anthony and Joyce Lynn-Alexander, who both just received a flu shot and a COVID booster said they continue to take steps to avoid getting sick.
“Staying inside, not taking long trips, not getting on an airplane, just limiting our chances of getting it,” Joyce told KTLA.
The RSV respiratory virus is also overwhelming some pediatric hospitals in cities around the country.
While there are available vaccines for the flu and COVID, there is no vaccine for RSV, but doctors say that people can take the same respiratory precautions to prevent all three illnesses.
“The thing that we really want to make sure that we do with a such high rate of virus circulating in the community is to make sure we protect ourselves, protect people who may be immunosuppressed and those people who may be particularly vulnerable, the very old and the very young,” said Dr. Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California Los Angeles.
Dr. Rimoin said masking in crowded spaces, hand washing and staying home when sick are especially important. It also helps ease the strain on local hospitals.
“That’s really the big concern here,” she said. “If we have three viruses that are really spreading rampantly and making people really sick, you could see a strain on the hospitals and that’s a problem for everyone.”
Experts have so far not recommended an official mask mandate. However, the L.A. County Health Department has strongly suggested people wear their masks indoors. Additionally, a mask mandate is still required for people exposed to the virus within the last 10 days and in healthcare facilities.
“I’m really worried about my kid,” said Laila Bahmani, who has a 6-year-old daughter in the first grade.
What worries Bahmani is that some of her daughter’s classmates wear masks and some do not.
“If she gets COVID, she can make us have COVID too, and I go to work, and I can affect other people in work. So, this is my first concern and my family,” Bahmani said.
According to Dr. Rimoin, as cases increase, the probability of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19 or the flu also increases. So, it’s best to take activities outdoors and wear a mask when you do go inside.