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Doctors Urge Caution for Holiday Gatherings as Several Respiratory Viruses Surge

SEATTLE, Wash. — Doctors across Washington state are stressing the importance of safety around gatherings this holiday season with the surge in respiratory viruses.

Dr. Eric Chow, chief of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease division at Public Health Seattle & King County said there’s been a steady increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu and COVID-19 cases within the last few weeks. Chow is in charge of tracking infectious diseases and he anticipates those numbers continuing to rise as people begin to gather for the holidays.

Hospitals are being stretched thin with cases rising and a large wave of RSV in children. With a number of respiratory illnesses going around in the community, doctors said people need to start taking precautions again.

“If you don’t feel well on the day of where you plan to gather with other people, isolate yourself from people because what may be a mild infection for you may not be a mild infection for other people,” said Chow.

Doctors at Seattle Children’s share with KOMO News that the hospital is at over 90-95% capacity with the emergency department seeing three times as many kids than ever before. They add that the threat is getting higher with more respiratory viruses going around.

“We’re doing a lot of seeing patients in the hallways, in the backrooms, in chairs to try and adapt as much as possible and so the tent is another place to try and stretch that out,” said Dr. Indi Trehan, an attending physician at Seattle Children’s.

Chow and Trehan said it’s also the time to get your flu vaccine and recommends taking the same precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes wearing a mask when gathering with a large group or travelling and social distance when possible.

“I know we’re all sick of masks to some degree, but masks work for all respiratory viruses not just COVID so you can save yourself some cases of flu and RSV,” said Trehan.

Source : Komo News