Hospitals asking for help with “tripledemic” of viruses on the rise

Flu, RSV and COVID-19 cases are prevalent in Brazos County right now
KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Cold weather has brought a busy season for local hospitals seeing an influx of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 cases that many experts have called a “tripledemic.” The outbreaks have left resources stretched, especially in emergency rooms.

Medical providers encourage people who think they’re sick to consider alternatives to coming into a hospital for testing. Those include at-home tests and virtual doctor visits.

“These three viruses for the most part, currently, are going to run their own course that will not require hospitalization. So my plea to the community is to use common sense, use the basics about the spread of viruses, and try to avoid the emergency room unless you truly feel you have an emergency,” Dr. William Rayburn, the Chief Medical Officer of Baylor Scott & White in College Station, said.

KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)

Rayburn says the medical community believes the increase of all three viruses is due to a lack of natural immunity in the population.

Rayburn says about 90% of RSV cases they see at the hospital can be treated at home. For the rest, there have been issues with hospital space, especially for children. Baylor Scott and White in College Station will send kids to a children’s hospital for care once they are deemed “moderately sick.” Now, Rayburn says they have run into issues with a lack of beds available.

“We have children’s hospitals in Temple, we have them in Austin, we have them in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, but that child is cared for in our emergency department by my folks that are trained to care for pediatrics,” he said. “Even though we may have to wait for a bed to become available, we feel very comfortable that the care we’re providing is excellent.”

According to the Brazos County Health District, last week there were over 300 new flu cases. As of Tuesday, there have also been 72 new COVID-19 cases over the previous 48 hours.

“Continue to use good common sense, and strongly consider vaccination,” suggested Rayburn. “Remember that for respiratory viruses we can mitigate that spread by simply using techniques such as distancing, etcetera. If you got a cough or a cold, you don’t feel sick. It would just make a lot of sense during a time when we have so many respiratory viruses to wear masks.”

The health district says viruses like these usually peak later in the year. Rayburn says he hopes these cases will begin decreasing soon.