Local health experts warn about the increase in the flu this year

Tony Phan

As the flu season looms over us in the Coachella Valley; local health experts are warning about an increase in cases this year. They have already seen influenza cases rise.

According to Euthym Kontaxis, Medical Director with Eisenhower Healths Tennity Emergency Department there’s a concern that they could be understaffed.

“Full hospitals that’s not typical for this time of year. I think the bigger issue is, it’s not always bed capacity but it’s staff capacity. We’ve had I think nationwide a shortage of nursing availability support staff.”

Kontaxis mentions that since most students are back in school and many people are beginning to get together and gather this plays a factor in the spike.

However, local school districts tell NBC Palm Springs they’re fully prepared for the flu season. Especially since they already have COVID protocols in place.

Desert Sands and Palm Springs Unified School Districts currently offer vaccine clinics for those who need it.  Earlier in the week, Pfizer BioNtech announced that their vaccine is safe for children ages 5-11 to use. The head nurse at DSUSD says that’s good news in the long run.

“I think that any group of people that we can vaccinate benefits the whole community. I hope that it is fast-tracked and I hope that we as a district will continue to provide the vaccine to any eligible group that can receive it.”

To help ease some concerns. The Riverside County Health System says it’ll be ok to get both the COVID and Flu Vaccine.

Here’s the flu data over the past few years:

2020-2021 (not complete)

ICU cases (0-64 yrs): 4

Flu associated deaths: 0

2019-2020

ICU cases: 88

Flu -associated deaths: 8

2018-2019

ICU cases: 71

Influenza-associated deaths: 9

*RUHS only tracks ICU and flu-related deaths they don’t have the exact numbers for flu cases every year.

Both CVS and Walgreens are offering flu shots, which doctors are recommending many to get before Halloween.

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