Arizona's most populous county is warning of a significant rise in cases of the flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health issued an alert Friday that cases among these viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus—known as RSV—are higher than normal for this time of year. The flu is now classified as “widespread” in the county. Transmission of COVID-19 is also in the high category.
Officials are urging that anyone 6 months or older get vaccinated for the flu and for COVID-19, especially with more gatherings during the holiday season.
They are also encouraging mask-wearing indoors in public settings. Anyone who is sick and needs to go out should definitely wear a mask.
Dr. Nick Staab, a department medical epidemiologist, says he is concerned at how many cases there are before people start traveling for Christmas. He says healthcare systems are getting strained.
Symptoms of the three viruses include fever, coughing, a sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose.