For Immediate ReleaseNovember 18, 2022
Viruses circulating in Marin begin to strain medical care system
San Rafael, CA – Marin County Public Health is warning the community about a surge in winter viruses and offering recommendations to protect families and the health care system as the holidays approach.
Local health care providers are seeing a spike in flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, and COVID-19 cases are trending upward. These three viruses circulating at the same time in Marin is beginning to strain the medical system.
Marin County emergency rooms are seeing twice the volume of people with viral respiratory symptoms than they normally see at this time of year. RSV and influenza levels in Marin’s wastewater have more than doubled since the end of October.
Because RSV causes more serious illness in young children, pediatric clinics and hospitals are particularly impacted by this surge across the region.
“During Thanksgiving and other holidays our social networks expand, creating new chances for respiratory viruses to spread,” said Dr. Matt Willis, County Public Health Officer. “In order to gather safely this year, it’s especially important to take the steps we know are effective and have control over.”
In order to protect medical services while ensuring residents get the attention they need, Marin County Public Health recommends that anyone experiencing mild symptoms first reach out by phone or virtually to their medical provider, before travelling to a clinic or emergency room.
The updated COVID-19 booster and flu shot offer strong protection
Marin County Public Health strongly recommends that everyone age 5 and older get the updated COVID-19 booster and flu shot as soon as possible, especially those over age 50 who are at a higher risk for severe disease.
“It’s important for people to know that the COVID-19 shot now being offered is different and improved from the original COVID-19 vaccines and is better at fighting the strains circulating right now in Marin,” Willis said.
No one in Marin who has received the new booster has died from COVID-19, and those who have received the new booster are four times less likely to be hospitalized.
Similarly, the current flu shot is a good match for the flu strain circulating in Marin. Most health care providers and pharmacies offer both COVID-19 and flu vaccines and it is safe to get them at the same time.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine against RSV yet. RSV is often spread by touching a contaminated surface and then touching one’s face.
Prevent the spread of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 by:
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, RSV, or influenza reach out to your medical provider or Marin County Public Health at (415) 473-4163. Stay up to date by visiting coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine and subscribe to Public Health’s status updates.
Dr. Matthew WillisPublic Health OfficerHealth and Human Services
3240 Kerner Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94901(415) 473-4163Email: Dr. Matthew WillisMarin HHS website