COVID-19, flu and RSV cases rising in Maricopa County: officials

Health officials are encouraging vaccinations as reports of illnesses are on the rise this holiday season in Maricopa County.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are higher than usual for this time of the year. Officials say flu cases are "widespread" and the county is in the high category for transmission of COVID-19.

MORE: US flu season worsens as 44 states report high activity, CDC says

"At this level of transmission, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, which includes during travel and in other public settings. RSV cases are more than two times higher than during the average peak," the department said in a news release.

MORE: Arizona hospitals see surge in COVID-19, flu, RSV cases

Officials encourage everyone ages six months and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. There is currently no vaccine for RSV.

CDC flu map

New data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Dec. 9 shows Arizona is one of many states with a very high spread of influenza.

Symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and RSV can include the following:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Muscle or body aches
  • fatigue
  • Headaches
  • For children under the age of 1, symptoms of RSV can also include irritability, decreased appetite, decreased activity, and pauses while breathing (apnea).

"Staying up-to-date on flu and COVID-19 vaccines is a simple way to prevent infections, reduce the spread of respiratory illness and prevent severe disease," said Dr. Staab with MCDPH. "You can get them on the same day at many places, and there’s still time to get vaccinated before the holidays. It’s best to get vaccinated at least two weeks ahead of gatherings or travel so the body has time to build up protection."

MORE: CDC map shows where flu cases have spiked in the US

From MCDPH: Protection from vaccines is enhanced by also using other prevention tactics. These include proper and frequent hand-washing; wearing a mask in crowded indoor areas; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you are sick with a respiratory illness, stay home and away from others, especially if you cannot wear a mask around others to decrease the spread of illness.

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