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OC Issues Emergency Declaration Over Growing Respiratory Infections

Los Angeles County could soon graduate into the “low” category for COVID-19 cases. – Photo courtesy of Halfpoint on Shutterstock.


November 1, 2022~A rapid rise in RSV, COVID-19 and flu virus infections have prompted the Orange County health officer to issue a declaration of health emergency and Tuesday, health care systems are reporting high patient volumes in emergency departments and pediatric units.

In addition to a countywide declaration of health emergency, a proclamation of local emergency has also been issued, which allows the county to access state and federal resources to address the rise in virus infections.

The Orange County Health Care Agency Emergency Medical Services says in a release it is monitoring regional hospital capacity

“While there isn’t a vaccine against RSV, we want OC residents to know there are many ways to protect children and at-risk individuals. Following preventive measures, including remaining up to date with other vaccinations such as flu and COVID-19, can help reduce the severity of disease and can help reduce the burden on hospitals this fall and winter,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, County Health Officer and HCA’s Chief Medical Officer. “Our best shot at protecting ourselves and our children from respiratory illnesses continues to be the same things we practiced throughout the pandemic including the use of masks when indoors around others and staying home when you are sick.”

The Health Care Agency recommends seeking medical attention immediately for children showing warning signs, which may include having trouble breathing, showing signs of dehydration, having a persistent or high fever, or looking or acting very sick.

The Health Care Agency also offered a list of preventive actions:

— Do not go to school or work when you are symptomatic.

— Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick, and when you are sick.

— Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands. Mask when indoors or large group settings.

— Wash your hands frequently, especially before and after eating and using the bathroom.

— Get flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines to prevent complications from these viral illnesses.

Visit www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/prevention.html for more information on RSV prevention.