Coronavirus Hospitalizations Tick Up As California Prepares For Flu Season
California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly delivered an update on COVID-19 and how the state is preparing for the arrival of flu season, on top of the coronavirus pandemic. You can read highlights below or watch the full video above.
LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
There are 4,636 new COVID-19 cases being reported today — Ghaly noted that this number includes cases reported Sunday into early Monday, and that Sunday is the lowest day for reporting. There were also 100 new deaths. Following two weeks of decline in hospitalizations, there was a slight increase, with hospitalizations 86 people higher than the day before.
There has been a greater reduction in cases in Southern California than Northern California, Ghaly noted. Some counties are increasing the wearing of masks, while others are doing increased disease investigation, Ghaly said. Some counties have been able to keep cases under control in shared facilities, such as nursing facilities, prisons, and other congregant facilities.
"We don't feel like we're moving in the wrong direction," Ghaly said — case and hospitalization trends continue to go down.
PREPARING FOR FLU SEASON — GET THE FLU SHOT
With flu season coming up, Ghaly stressed the need to be prepared. Outbreaks of flu and COVID-19 will drain the state's health care resources, according to Ghaly, which are already scarce. The state is starting some flu prep early due to these concerns. The flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, Ghaly said.
"Together, flu and COVID create a doubly risky situation," Ghaly said.
As with COVID-19, wearing a mask can help protect people from the flu. But, Ghaly stressed, we also have a flu vaccine — and it's especially important to get a flu vaccine this year to help avoid the need to go to an emergency room or urgent care, where you could possibly be exposed to COVID-19.
Vaccinations have significantly decreased during the pandemic, Ghaly noted. There have been a third fewer vaccine doses this year for children 0-18. MMR vaccinations for children 4-6 years old dipped the most in April, but are still below normal this month. California has a lower admission rate for children suffering from COVID-19 than there is nationally, according to one study, Ghaly said. The state hopes that there is higher-than-usual vaccinations to come now that more pediatricians' offices are open.
COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Latino children, just as it is with Latino adults, Ghaly said. Flu has an enormous influence on children, Ghaly noted.
GO TO THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE FOR VACCINES, OTHER ESSENTIAL APPOINTMENTS
Ghaly said that people may feel uneasy about going into doctor's offices, but that health care providers in California have taken "extraordinary measures" to protect patients and make sure there is not an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. If you have an essential health need — including getting vaccinated — you should either schedule a visit or talk with your doctor about your concerns, Ghaly said.
When social distancing starts to ease, infants and children not protected by vaccines could be vulnerable to avoidable diseases like meases and whooping cough, Ghaly said. The same is true for adults who aren't vaccinated, which could make them more vulnerable to shingles or pneumonia.
Many clinics are starting to receive flu vaccine shipments, Ghaly said. He recommended getting it done early to avoid a rush in the coming weeks, especially as both flu and COVID-19 start to affect the state.