Avera Medical Minute: COVID, flu season update

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 1:02 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - With temperatures getting consistently cooler, there have been upticks for a variety of seasonal illnesses such as influenza, strep throat, and RSV. Typically January and February see the highest rise in cases, but December has proven that communities are being affected a little earlier this season, but it is not completely uncommon according to Dr. David Basel, VP of Clinic Quality for the Avera Medical Group. “One or two years out of the last ten, I can remember us having a December mini peak, but it is a little bit concerning that we’re seeing it so early this year,” Dr. Basel said. In his estimation, it appeared that flu shots were slightly behind a typical year and encourages people to go get their shots.

Does COVID have a strong presence this year?

Dr. Basel says COVID cases have been remarkably stable since August 1 which is good and bad news. “The good news is we haven’t seen that steady increasing caseload that we’ve seen the last two years. The bad news is it just won’t go away,” Dr. Basel said. “We still have anywhere from 30-50 patients in the hospital across the Avera system. Vaccination numbers show a majority of people have gotten their first shot, but booster shots are still relatively low. Dr. Basel also mentioned the bivalent booster that came out around October 1 which should be readily available.

To help stymie the effects of the cold, flu, RSV, or even COVID, Dr. Basel reminds everyone to stay home when exhibiting any of the symptoms. “It is almost impossible to tell the difference between several of these respiratory illnesses in the early stages, so it is really important to avoid passing any of these along.”