Is it the flu? Is it COVID-19? Or is it both?
“Last year, we were calling it the twindemic, worrying about people getting the COVID disease and influenza at the same time,” said Catherine Flores-Martin, Executive Director of the California Immunization Coalition.
During the middle of flu season and with COVID-19 cases on the rise, sick people aren’t sure whether they have one virus or the other. The symptoms for the flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it difficult to determine the culprit. A new FDA authorized testing device presents varied results- when symptomatic individuals show up, lab techs don’t just check for one virus.
“This one swab will give us traces of influenza A, influenza B, and and sars-COVID 2,” Steve Berzan of 911 COVID Testing.
With the device, the testing center in Los Angeles announced the first local case of what many are calling ‘flurona’, meaning a person tests positive for both the flu and the coronavirus.
“We determined that the child had some very mild cold-like symptoms,” said Berzan.
The child had just returned from a family vacation in Mexico. Testing center officials said he did not require hospitalization, and was sent home with his parents where officials say he is “in good spirits”.
Health officials have long said that people could potentially be infected with both COVID-19 and the flu, and have urged residents to get vaccinated against both, as well as get tested often.
“Not necessarily for panic or fear, but more for us to raise awareness and be mindful,” said Berzan.
“The bottom line is (they are) two separate viruses- both (are) very dangerous, both (are) potentially deadly, so it is extremely important for us to make sure we are getting vaccinated against the influenza virus that’s circulating out there and COVID,” said Flores-Martin. “We definitely want to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent flu or COVID.”
As of today, Riverside County has not recorded any instances of individuals with simultaneous infections of both the flu and coronavirus. The public health team is monitoring those cases.