SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s not just COVID-19 cases that are on the rise in Onondaga County, but also the flu. So far the county has had the worst flu outbreak in the state, leaving health officials concerned.
Onondaga County is standing out among others across the state when it comes to the number of flu cases. One of the reasons, being the home to college students.
“Two of the highest in cases per 100 thousand are us and Tompkins County, which is obviously the seed of both Cornell University and Ithaca College,” says Dr. Chris Morley, chair of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Upstate Medical University.
On top of pairing it with COVID-19, the viruses have similar symptoms making things even more difficult to manage, causing some to put their guard down.
“The third issue is that we didn’t really have a flu season last year. It was really muted and we strongly suspect that was due to the fact that people were masking and distancing and doing things to control COVID-19,” says Dr. Morley.
Currently, Onondaga County has 101 cases of the flu, and experts believe it’s going to be an aggressive season for it, especially during the holidays.
“We’ve been asking people be on guard. Make sure you know how big the gathering you are going to or that you’re hosting is going to be. Think about whether you’re mixing people who are unvaccinated with vaccinated people,” says Dr. Morley.
That means making sure you’re vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19, and rule both of these viruses out.
Dr. Morley added, “Its also vital that people not show up to these things if they’re symptomatic, especially if you haven’t tested and figured out the reason why you are having symptoms.”
Experts stress that they don’t want people to live in caution, but there are things we can do to mitigate the spread.
Dr. Morley says everyone reacts different to the flu. For some it can be just a nasty sickness that they’ll get over, but for others it can be deadly, just like COVID-19. That’s why it’s crucial to get vaccinated against both, if you haven’t already.