Cy-Fair Edition | November 2020

COVID19 AND THE FLU While caused by separate viruses, the u and COVID-19 can both cause serious disease or death, and they share some symptoms.

HEALTH CARE Experts advise planning for winter u seasonduringCOVID19

SHARED SYMPTOMS

BY BEN THOMPSON

Shuford said the state department will monitor Texas hospital capacity over the coming months. She said while COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout Texas decreased in September, increases during the fall and winter may again lead to capacity issues throughout the state. “We don’t feel like we’re out of the woods,” Shuford said. “We feel like our health care system is safe at this moment in time, but that any addition of u in our communities or even COVID-19 in our communities could start to impact and stress our healthcare system.” In Harris County, general hospital bed usage has remained below the county’s operational capacity of

Health ocials are preparing for a seasonal wave of inuenza they said could compound public health and health care system capacity concerns this year. Dr. Jennifer Shuford, infectious disease medical ocer for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said that while u season typically peaks between December and March, the timing and severity of the u’s spread every year is uncertain. “Getting the u shot is the single most important thing that a person can do to prevent themselves from getting the u or from severe u and its complications,” she said. Shuford said that while DSHS

Fever

Cough Muscle aches and pains

Sore throat

Runny nose

Headache Shortness of breath

COVID19ONLY

FLUONLY

Symptoms typically appear ve days after infection, although symptoms may appear two to 14 days after infection.

Symptoms typically appear one to four days after infection.

Loss of smell or taste

Chills

SOURCES: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER HOSPITAL CAPACITY Hospital bed use in Harris County remains in the 7,000 range as of late October.

CAPACITY: 14,869

General beds in use General beds in use for COVID-19 patients

works every year to share messaging about u preparedness and preven- tion, eorts to inform Texans about u shots and recommended precautions have ramped up ahead of this fall. And

14,869 beds and surge capacity of 17,847 since late September—at or below 7,841 beds, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. According to Dr. Anne Barnes, Harris Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Medical

“GETTING THE FLU SHOT IS THE SINGLEMOST IMPORTANT THING THAT APERSON CANDO TO PREVENT THEMSELVES FROMGETTING THE FLU OR FROMSEVERE FLUAND ITS COMPLICATIONS.” DR. JENNIFER SHUFORD, INFECTIOUS DISEASE MEDICAL OFFICER FOR THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES

7,731

7,679

7,688

7,701

7,625

7,118

6,838

6,608

7,959

7,841

7,421

7,389 7,347

7,014 7,431

6,516

409 374 376 340 315 308 316 359 340 360 365 412 421 350 442 424

22 24 26 28 30 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 SEPTEMBER OCTOBER

SOURCE: SOUTHEAST TEXAS REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCILCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COVID-19 infections will be present in the late fall and early winter,” Barnes said in an email. “If Houstonians wear their masks, physically dis- tance, wash their hands, and get a u shot, we would anticipate a manage- able rate of infection and a modest

rate of illness requiring hospitaliza- tion. If community members don’t maintain vigilance, we are at risk for surge level hospital demands for both COVID-19 and u.” Adriana Rezal contributed to this report.

in addition to communications from the state organization, she also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing u vaccines for residents of all ages this year in addition to the department’s ongoing Texas Vaccines for Children Program.

Ocer, the ability of local hospitals to handle patients with other conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic will depend on how county residents adhere to guidelines on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. “We believe that both u and

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CYFAIR EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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