MIAMI – Doctors and medical experts are talking about a rise in flu cases across South Florida, and it comes as there is also an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
As a result, local pharmacy shelves are looking sparse in the cold and flu sections.
“I’ve had a lot of patients calling with really significant symptoms,” said Dr. Kunjana Mavunda with KIDZ Medical Services.
Data from the Florida Department of Health says flu numbers are increasing in much of the state, including Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
While this might seem late for a flu outbreak, Dr. Mavunda says in South Florida, the flu season runs much later.
“A lot of it may be due to where we are located,” she said. “We are the gateway to South America, and they are starting with their flu season.”
Meanwhile, infectious diseases experts like Dr. Aileen Marty are watching a troubling trend with COVID cases on the rise at the same time.
“Miami-Dade right now has a 17.3 percent positivity, and it’s actually even higher in Broward County,” Dr. Marty said.
Marty says those numbers are likely even higher since many people are testing using at-home kits and aren’t included in state data.
And while these latest COVID variants might seem less aggressive, Marty says it’s because our community has a high level of immunity at the moment from vaccines and exposure to omicron, but she adds that it won’t last forever.
“Let’s say you got omicron in December. Come this summer, any immunity you got from having had Omicron in December is pretty much shot,” she said.
In response to the COVID surge, Jackson Health System actually changed their visitation guidelines again, making them more restrictive to prevent the spread inside the hospital facilities.