Local health care officials warn of ‘triple threat’: cold, flu and covid-19

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Local health officials are bracing for what they are calling the ‘triple threat’: cold, flu and covid-19.

Brown County Public Health’s Claire Papcrocki had an important message for the public Tuesday saying it’s ‘crunch time’ here in Northeast Wisconsin.

“What I mean by that is we are experiencing very high numbers of COVID-19 cases locally, and we’re just starting to enter the cold season that arrives in colder weather,” said Paprocki.

Paprocki said as of Tuesday, October 19, Brown County has seen a total of 44,712 cases of covid, 315 deaths and there are currently 127 people in the hospital with the virus.

“So, while COVID cases on a national level seem to be declining. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Northeast Wisconsin,” said Paprocki.

While dealing with the present surge, health care professionals are looking at the past few months of illnesses to prepare for this fall.

“It was actually a very atypical thing to see RSV in the summer, to see large numbers of parainfluenza virus infection,” said Dr. Sarah Lulloff, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at HSHS Hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin. “So we anticipate because of that same pattern reflected with the other viruses that if and when influenza arrives, that it will be transmitted pretty easily.”

The fact that all three share certain symptoms make testing a necessity as well as the vaccine, for both influenza and covid-19.

Pediatrician Dr. Donald Beno with Aurora BayCare Medical Center said his office is ready to vaccinate kids 5-11 years old as soon as it’s officially approved.

“Twenty-seven percent of all the cases of COVID-19 are in children under 18 and for every person who’s infected by COVID-19, 5 other children or adults will become sick as well on average,” said Dr. Beno.

With more and more infections reported every day, Dr. Lulloff said it’s important for everyone to get vaccinated, even if you’ve already survived the virus.

“There are emerging studies, more studies from different parts of the world, that show that the amount of protection that is gained after somebody has a vaccine following infection is even greater and more protective than people that haven’t gotten a vaccine, after having an infection,” said Dr. Lulloff.

As the cooler temperatures creep in, officials said everyone should practice social distancing, wear a mask and stay home if sick.

“The more we can do today to prevent the spread, the fewer new variants we will see and the sooner we will all be able to get back to normal,” said Dr. Beno. “But if we take the role that ‘I’m over this’, then all we’re going to see is the next new variant that likely will continue this for years to come.”

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