County health officials urged to have plans to combat flu, another spike in COVID this fall

Health officials are looking to get ahead of a looming double threat: the flu season and another potential spike in COVID-19 cases.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2020, 7:17 PM

Updated 1,428 days ago

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Health officials are looking to get ahead of a looming double threat: the flu season and another potential spike in COVID-19 cases.
For Westchester County Commissioner of Health Dr. Sherlita Amler, it's been a challenging five months since the pandemic's start, and she's worried the next couple of months could be even worse.
"The question that comes into play somebody presents with a fever and a cough are you dealing with COVID? Are you dealing with Influenza?" Amler says.
She is preparing for a double challenge this fall as two highly contagious respiratory illnesses that spread in the same way are expected to hit at the same time. That's why she's encouraging everyone to get the flu vaccine this season.
"People getting vaccinated for influenza, not getting influenza, not needing hospital care might make availability of hospital beds less of an issue," Amler says.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also concerned.
"You put the flu season on top of COVID, this is a very difficult situation to deal with, and that is going to be the second wave," Cuomo says, and that's why he is mandating that county health officials come up a plan to ensure there is enough testing capacity for both viruses this fall.
"This is going to be difficult and challenging," Cuomo emphasizes.
"This is a little bit of stretch for county departments because we are typically in the business of testing people
for influenza. We're more in the business of providing flu shots," Amler says.
Amler says the county is doing everything they can to plan ahead, with the hope lives will be saved.
County health departments have until next Wednesday to turn in their plans for flu and COVID-19 testing.
 


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