SAN ANGELO, Texas – For the week ending January 2nd, the CDC reported low or minimal flu activity in every state. Last year, flu activity was high in 33 states that week, including Texas as one of the worst. Due to the coronavirus impact in early 2021, local health experts are expecting numbers to remain low in the Concho Valley.
“It’s been overshadowed somewhat by the COVID virus that’s taken the limelight,” Shannon Health nurse practitioner Felix Guanajuato said. “We certainly have many more COVID cases than the flu, but for every 10 COVID cases we probably see two or three flu cases.”
Guanajuato says it’s possible to contract COVID and influenza at the same time. Another illness to watch for this time of the year is strep throat. Since the majority of Concho Valley residents are aware of COVID safety protocols, the chances of avoiding these illnesses are much higher compared to previous years.
“I think with the overlying PPE protection, wearing masks, frequent hand washing and lots of education to the public certainly helped decrease the amount of COVID we’ve seen, but it’s also significantly decreased the amount of flu that we’re experiencing as well.” Guanajuato stated.
Health experts say the coronavirus is more contagious than the flu. More than 1 million people in the US tested positive for COVID-19 from December 27th through January 2nd, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University. However, Guanajuato says more residents are getting the flu shot this year in preparation for a potential outbreak.
“I think it’s very important to get the flu shot,” Guanajuato expressed. “Everybody stands a different risk based on their health history, but as a general rule, the flu shot doesn’t guarantee that you will not get the flu, but it does help with the severity of the flu.”
For more information, visit the Shannon Health website.