Trifecta of illnesses could lie in near future

Nov. 1, 2022

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is sounding the alarm about a triple threat of illnesses that could have a severe impact on people’s lives and the county’s medical resources this fall and winter.

 Local health providers are seeing an early spike in flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, and while COVID-19 cases are currently trending down in the region, a triple whammy of all three viruses circulating at the same time could lead to strains on the already overburdened medical system.

“As we see a sharp increase of flu and RSV cases, I am urging San Diegans to do their part to prevent the spread of illnesses,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “While there’s no vaccine for RSV, ample vaccinations are available for the flu and COVID-19. These vaccines take two weeks to become fully effective, so people should get both shots as soon as possible.”

Wooten also recommends that people, especially those at a higher risk for severe disease, should consider taking extra precautions this fall and winter:

·       Consider a well-fitting, good-quality mask, especially indoors or in crowded spaces;

·        Wash hands thoroughly and often;

·        Use hand sanitizers, if unable to wash hands;

·        Stay away from sick people;

·        Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;

·        Clean commonly touched surfaces; and

·        If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

What is RSV

RSV is a respiratory virus that has been detected in previous cold and flu seasons, but usually doesn’t spike at the same time as flu. RSV can cause significant respiratory problems, especially in young children. Symptoms of RSV include cough, runny nose, and fever. Treatment consists of managing symptoms and, in severe cases, hospitalization.

RSV is currently inundating local pediatric care providers. Rady Children’s Hospital earlier this week notified families that wait times for care in their emergency room are a lot longer than usual.

Vaccines for the flu and COVID-19, including the new bivalent boosters, are widely available through health care providers, pharmacies, clinics and the County.

“COVID-19 and flu vaccines are safe and effective at preventing the most severe disease,” Wooten said. “While the flu vaccine does not protect people against COVID and vice versa, it is possible to get both shots during the same visit.”

Vaccination Progress:

·        More than 2.69 million or 80.5% of San Diegans received the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.

·        Boosters administered: 1,485,987or 60.2% of 2,469,569 eligible San Diegans.

·        More vaccination information can be found at


·        Seven additional deaths were reported since the last report on Oct. 20, 2022. The region’s total is 5,524.

·        Of the seven additional deaths, four were women and three were men. They died between Oct. 9, 2022 and Oct. 14, 2022.

·        Three of the people who died were 80 years or older, one was in their 70s and three were in their 60s.

·        Five received at least the primary series of the vaccine and two had not.

·        All had underlying medical conditions.

Cases, Case Rates and Testing:

·        1,569 COVID-19 cases were reported to the County in the past seven days (Oct. 18 to Oct. 24, 2022). The region’s total is now 929,549.

·        The 1,569 cases reported in the past week were slightly lower compared to the 1,591 infections identified the previous week (Oct. 11 to Oct. 17, 2022).

·        8,023 tests were reported to the County on Oct. 22, and the percentage of new positive cases was 3.2% (Data through Oct. 22).

·        The 14-day rolling percentage of positive cases, among tests reported through Oct. 22, is 3.7%.

San Diego County News Center release