Even though COVID-19 hasn’t spread much in Montgomery County, Maryland yet, health officials say that the combination of RSV, the flu, and the coronavirus is causing more people to go to the hospital or the emergency room.
The president of Holy Cross Health Acute Care for Maryland, Dr. Louis Damiano, said that about 500 people are admitted to hospitals in Silver Spring and Germantown every month because they have upper respiratory tract infections.
Damiano said that most of them had to do with COVID-19 in July and August. “That has changed in the last few months. Now, about half of the upper respiratory tract infections we see in Silver Spring and Germantown are either RSV or the flu.
During Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s weekly press conference, Damiano stated, “We’re not at the point right now in the ‘tripledemic,’ where we have to go into full-blown surge plan as we did during the earlier portion of the COVID pandemic and during the omicron pandemic, but we’re ready” to do so as they monitor the patients being seen.
Dr. James Bridgers, the deputy health officer for Montgomery County, said that they are in touch with Dr. Patricia Kapunan, the medical officer for Montgomery County Public Schools, to talk about how RSV is affecting the schools in Montgomery County.
We haven’t seen any big changes in school attendance because of RSV. Bridgers said, “We are still keeping an eye out for any outbreaks.” On what people can do to stop the spread of the three viruses, Damiano said that all three can be spread through the air, and RSV and flu can also be spread through direct contact.
Damiano said, “Wash your hands and use common sense when you go out into larger groups of people.” Damiano said to wipe down surfaces to help with RSV and the flu. In all three cases, he said that sick people should stay home.
Sean O’Donnell, who works for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager, said that about 31% of the county’s people have gotten their flu shots. “Everyone older than six months should get that flu shot unless their doctor tells them not to,” O’Donnell said.