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Federal, State, and Local Leaders Urge Protection Against Viruses

Federal, State, and Local Leaders Urge Protection Against Viruses
Local, state, and federal dignitaries pose after press conference

The San Diego County Office of Education, with local, state, and federal partners, participated in a joint press conference this week to remind San Diegans they can take charge of protecting themselves and their families against the three respiratory illnesses that are circulating in the community this season.

In addition to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the County of San Diego and many other areas around the nation are experiencing an early spike of flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases. Flu cases typically do not peak until December at which time RSV begins to increase, but that doesn't appear to be the case this year.

“Here’s the good news. We know everything it takes to keep us safe during the triple threat, and we also have the tools the medicines, the know-how to address that triple threat,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Here’s the challenging news. Will everyone listen?”

Local public health officials, with strong support from the state and federal government, are fully engaged in supporting the already overburdened medical system to ensure everyone has access to the necessary resources. The County is applying some of the strategies developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep San Diegans safe.

“We are fortunate in San Diego County to be able to draw upon the strength of a collaborative network of healthcare providers and long-standing relationships with state and federal leaders who understand our unique region and ensure we have the resources to provide equitable care and support,” said Nick Macchione, director of County Health and Human Services Agency.

County schools are on the front lines of seeing the effect of the viruses effect their students and staff.

“Schools have learned many lessons from the height of the pandemic that can support our collective efforts to care for staff, students and their families,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold, citing increased collaboration with public health, improved air filtration systems and implementation of health practices to mitigate viruses. “As a parent myself, I want to reassure our community that we have the resources and collective experience to get through this, but it’s going to take everyone doing their part.”

Vaccinations are a proven strategy for protecting community health and preparing for a potentially challenging flu season.

“RSV is a common virus in children that usually appears during winter months. The difference this year is that we are seeing it earlier and at unprecedented levels, which has impacted emergency department wait times and hospital capacity,” said Patrick Frias, MD, President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “You can make a difference by getting the entire family vaccinated against flu and COVID, staying home when sick, and seeking the right level of care to ensure the sickest patients are able to access medical services in the most appropriate setting.”

Read the full story at the County News Center.

View the full press conference video on YouTube

Find resources and tools for school leaders on current health topics on the SDCOE School Nursing webpage

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