Local hospitals ready for more flu cases along with COVID-19 hospitalizations

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In this May 6, 2021 file photo syringes with the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 disease are ready at a new vaccination center in Paris. Social media influencers in France with hundreds of thousands of followers say a mysterious advertising agency offered to pay them if they agreed to smear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with negative fake stories. The smear effort drew a withering response from French Health Minister Olivier Veran, who called it “pathetic.” (AP Photo/Michel Euler, FIle)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) With flu season just around the corner, El Paso doctors said they are expecting to see more flu cases than last year and are prepared to handle the influx while treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Oscar Vega, the Chief Medical Officer of Las Palmas Medical Center, said they are expecting a moderate flu season.

“Last year, we had a very mild flu season last season that was due to universal masking, handwashing, social distancing and that helped us,” Vega said.

El Paso County Flu statistics for the 2020-2021 season report 710 cases and no flu-related deaths. The year prior reported more than 15,000 flu cases and 2 flu-related deaths.

As KTSM previously reported, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate school of public health conducted two studies aimed at predicting hospitalizations during the 2021-22 flu season. Local doctors said they don’t expect severe hospitalizations, but they are prepared if there is a surge in patients along with COVID-19 patients.

“We were able to make capacity and areas where we are able to have our patients in there with care so we have those plans we dusted them off and have them ready to use again,” Vega said.

Dr. Armando Meza, an Infectious Disease Specialist at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso said the best way to prevent getting sick is by getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

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