Lubbock hospitals report massive decline in flu hospitalizations

Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 10:03 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Flu cases and hospitalizations have massively declined this season, in Lubbock, and nationwide.

Executives from Covenant Health and UMC in Lubbock, say there’s been a huge decline at both hospitals.

Dr. Craig Rhyne, the Chief Medical Officer of Covenant Health, says medical staff are keeping a closing eye on flu infections because hospital beds and staff are precious during COVID-19, and they want to avoid a double pandemic.

“The rate of influenza in the community is not zero. We have seen some influenza strains identified in some of the primary care physicians offices.”

But even though there are still cases, Dr. Rhyne says there have been zero hospitalizations due to the flu at Covenant Health.

“And that’s nothing short of a miracle. But that tells you something. That tells you that what we’re doing for COVID-19 is very effective for influenza: the masking the social distancing, the reduction in family gatherings.”

Dr Rhyne says the flu isn’t attacking children as much and Dr. Brian Payne, the Chief Medical Officer of UMC Children’s Hospital, says there have been only a couple of hospitalizations for children there.

“This year, instead of having the whole hospital overflowing with children, we’ve only had about, on the flu and RSV aspects, we’ve only had like 50%, or less than what we normally get,” Dr. Payne said.

Both doctors say safety measures from the pandemic have helped keep flu numbers low.

“The grandparents may be even wearing a mask around those grandkids or being careful around those grandchildren,” Dr. Payne said.

Dr. Rhyne says COVID-19 and flu symptoms can be very similar, so he recommends you call your doctor to find out how and where to get tested for both the flu and COVID-19.

Dr. Rhyne asks if you get a flu vaccination and a COVID-19 vaccination soon, spread both of the vaccinations at least two weeks apart.

“The minimum days of a period of time between one vaccine and a second vaccine, even for a different disease, is at least 14 days.”

Most pharmacies offer the flu vaccine free with most insurance.

For an appointment to get a COVID vaccination, you must meet eligibility requirements and sign up for an appointment. You can find that link here.

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