A rising number of flu cases has forced California hospitals in treat patients in auxiliary triage tents, as the flu has seen a 259% increase from a year ago.
Emergency rooms in San Diego County have been filling up, requiring the tents at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla and Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Those locations have reported 9% of the patients with flu symptoms, up for 7% two weeks ago, the county reported. The number of positive flu tests at Scripps' hospitals and doctors' offices since Sept. 1 is up 259% year over year.
H3N2 is the dominant strain of the severe cases.
"Influenza activity continues to increase," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "Regions 4 (Southeast) and 6 (South-Central) are reporting the highest levels of flu activity, followed by regions 3 (Mid-Atlantic) and 9 (south-central West Coast).
Flu season tends to be December through February, but the uptick in cases coming early in the Southern states have left experts on alert.
"The fear is that everything is just sort of bouncing off everything else and once you've been through the flu you could still get hit by COVID or whatever other virus you're going to get," Scripps Health Dr. Ghazala Sharieff told the Union-Tribune.
"I'm hopeful, but we're still kind of planning that it's going to be this way through February."
Chicago is seeing an uptick of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and flu, too, as University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital has had beds full for 54 consecutive days.
"The curves are all going up for RSV and influenza," Comer's physician-in-chief Dr. John Cunningham, Comer's physician-in-chief.
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