It’s a three-front battle against a trio of respiratory illnesses that are circulating throughout the country. COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are behind the so-called “tripledemic.”
“There are so many respiratory viruses right now in children in our community,” said Dr. Rebecca Hicks, a pediatrician at Mosaic Medical. “A lot of influenza, a lot of parrot influenza, which is the virus that usually causes croup. A lot of RSV and COVID as well.”
Dr. Hicks says RSV is the leading virus causing hospitalizations this year.
Data provided by Bend La-Pine schools show a 4% decrease in attendance from September to December.
- September Attendance Rate: 91.60%
- October Attendance Rate: 90.63%
- November Attendance Rate: 86.57%
- December Attendance Rate: 87.65%
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With schools returning from winter break next week, those numbers may drop even lower.
“We always see upticks in respiratory virus transmission in kids during and after holidays. There may be a little bit of a decrease when they stop going to school for a couple of weeks, but then when the families get together for the holidays, the viruses tick up again,” Dr. Hicks said.
While school attendance dwindles, waiting rooms reach full capacity.
“The clinic systems in Bend have been very full since the beginning of November,” Dr. Hicks said. “Our hospital admissions continue to be at about the same level. We continue to have many children who are hospitalized every day for respiratory viruses.”
Hicks says RSV and COVID-19 are different respiratory illnesses that cause very similar symptoms. A person cannot tell the difference between the viruses without being tested for them. RSV, COVID-19 and influenza can all cause croup — an upper airway infection that can block breathing and has a distinctive barking cough.
Bend La-Pine and Redmond School districts say they are not implementing any special precautions ahead of students returning, but would like to remind you how to keep your children and yourself healthy.
The CDC and the school districts say frequent hand-washing, keeping your children home from school when they’re sick, and practicing COVID pandemic measures all help in preventing the spread of the three viruses.