Doctors say 'tripledemic' could be coming to a close

NOW: Doctors say ’tripledemic’ could be coming to a close

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Health officials coined it as the ‘tripledemic’; a spike in cases of Covid, the flu, and RSV that left hospitals with few open beds in the fall.

 “We do not see flu very much, influenza seems to have gotten significantly better, and the same with RSV, in speaking with our pediatric colleagues, we’re seeing less of that,” says Dr. Arthur Schroeder, Interim Chief Medical Officer at Saint Joseph Health System.

Flu and RSV numbers are down, but Covid is still lingering as the virus continues to mutate and new strains emerge. Saint Joe County sits at a low community transmission level, but Dr. Schroeder says the recent pattern shows cases coming in slight waves.

“We continue to see some Covid; we continue to see this past week, a slight upward trend in hospitalizations in our region,” says Dr. Schroeder about Covid cases. “We get a daily report on the number of hospitalized cases, and we’ve gone from 28 at the beginning of the week, seven days ago, up to 43 today. Just a slow, gradual rise.”

Rather than the big three respiratory illnesses overtaking hospital beds, he says they’re seeing a rise of other viral illnesses that are more common this time of year. He thinks they’re making an appearance once again as precautions for Covid lessen and our immune systems adjust.

“Our overall immunity, our overall exposure to these typical things that we see in this time of year, the typical rhinovirus and enterovirus, or other types of viruses that typically cause the classic cold systems; our immune systems are a little bit less used to seeing those at this point.”

He adds it’s a good sign that hospitals like Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center aren’t getting messages from the CDC warning about new variants or diseases, but of course, he advises to stay vigilant to prevent another ‘tripledemic’.

 “We want to make sure that we’re practicing good hygiene, washing hands, wearing masks when it’s appropriate, and staying home when you’re sick,” Dr. Schroeder advises.

CDC Covid numbers by county

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