Some positive news as Pima County’s “tripledemic” rages on

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 8:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The “tripledemic” is still doing a job on Arizona, although according to the Pima County Health Department, there are some bright spots.

The number of new RSV cases has begun to level off and may begin a downward trend if Pima County follows a nationwide trend.

The number of new COVID cases is down 4,000 from a week ago although it remains high with 11,550 new cases last week.

“COVID continues to be classified as high transmission, high community transmission,” Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Director told the media during a “tripledemic” update this morning.”

Even with high transmission of COVID-19, now is not a time to panic but it is time to think about it and take extra care.

“What we’re seeing are respiratory diseases right now and that means they are spread through the air,” Dr. Cullen said. “Spread by breathing, coughing in what we call respiratory droplets.”

That’s a concern because ‘tis the season for holiday gatherings and office parties. It’s a time to enjoy but still nobody wants to get sick or make their coworkers sick, so with that holiday cheer should also come a bit of holiday prep.

“The public health department would recommend that indoor office parties be very limited this year and if there is an indoor office party we would recommend masking,” Dr. Cullen advised.

Shopping is also a social event for many people and while the number of RSV cases seems to be leveling off the same can’t be said for flu and COVID. Still, health officials don’t want people to stay home.

“We would recommend people to shop,” she said. “We think shopping is important and we want to make sure the economy stays robust.”

But still while shopping there could be very close quarters with people who’ve you’ve never seen before and won’t again so what to do.

“If it’s possible, you may recall that six foot distance may be hard to do during active holiday shopping, perhaps however three feet from the people in front of you,” Dr. Cullen suggested. “And consider shopping at hours of the day when the stores may be less busy.”

Still despite all the cheer, it would be sad to lose a grandparent because there were no precautions, and grandparents are the most likely to have a very bad outcome.

In a recent period, 60 people died from COVID in Pima County and 55 of them were over 65. The average age was 80. “Age has always been a risk factor but the data we are seeing now once again indicates, as we were early in the pandemic, age is the most important risk factor for significant morbidity and mortality,” she said.

So in order to insure a safe holiday season and a new year, if you can protect the older population, you’ll likely be protecting everyone.