CORONAVIRUS

Flu, COVID cases expected to rise in Utah

Sep 26, 2023, 6:37 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm

OGDEN — The number of COVID-19 diagnoses continues to stay above what we saw over the summer but now some doctors are starting to see early signs of the flu as well.

Overall numbers have actually tapered off a bit from last week, but hospitalizations are up, and we’re just heading into what is typically a busy time for those upper respiratory illnesses.

Doctors say the time to prepare is now.

It’s not the kind of thing we like to talk about but as Doctor David Cope explains, COVID remains a real problem.

“Pretty steady stream of COVID in the last couple of weeks. A week or two ago, we were seeing a little bit more than we are right now,” Cope said from his office in Ogden.

Dr. Cope

Doctor David Cope of Ogden. (KSL TV)

It is significantly less of a threat for most people.

“Like many diseases, some people get it and don’t get very sick, and then they think, ‘Oh, it’s not such a big deal’”, Cope said. “But you don’t have to look around too far to find somebody who got it and ended up in the hospital really sick from it.”

Which is why he says we should protect ourselves to protect others. The latest COVID vaccines are designed to tackle the variants we’re seeing now.

“It’s been a while since people got their last round of vaccines and natural immunity also has kind of a shorter lifespan so those things are contributing to more people getting infected right now,” said Josh Benton, an upper respiratory disease epidemiologist with Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“We are seeing more hospitalization than we’ve been seeing in the last few months. It’s not as many as during the peak of the pandemic of course, but you want to protect yourself from it with all the tools that you have,” Benton added.

At the same time, other upper-respiratory illnesses are starting to pick up.

It’s why he said we should protect ourselves to protect others.

At the same time, other upper-respiratory illnesses are starting to pick up.

Cope said, “We’ve seen a fair amount of influenza. Mostly influenza A, but usually that’s something we say, ‘Get your vaccine in October because we anticipate the surge to come in November, December, January.’”

You can also get some of the latest batch of free at-home COVID tests at covid.gov. It’s also a good time to get the RSV vaccine for those elderly and younger populations who may be more susceptible to that.

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Flu, COVID cases expected to rise in Utah