TYLER, Texas — We’re officially in the month of September, that means we’ll soon say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.
But, how will the colder weather impact COVID-19 and will it get worse?
Dr. Scott Smith at CHRISTUS Mother Frances says, "yes."
“This cold and flu season, we are gearing up for and preparing for the worst, quite frankly," Dr. Smith said. "We have had many meetings internally with our physicians and nurses discussing how we can prepare for and help treat and assess patients in the community."
The hospital is preparing for an increase in cases in the fall and winter. They say they expect cases to rise, similar to what we saw in the month of June.
The only difference between now and then — the fall and winter also usher in cold and flu season.
“It could be impossible for a patient to be able to tell the difference between two,” Dr. Smith said.
Part of their preparation begins with testing. The hospital is now offering testing for both COVID-19 and the flu, two viruses which he says can have nearly identical symptoms, but there is a major difference.
“One difference between the flu and COVID-19, is COVID-19 has shown itself to be more contagious” Dr. Smith said. “It's just infectious and how long the respiratory droplets hang around, are still under debate. And so safety comes first, you know, wear a mask. My family now wears a mask any time we're out in any public place. Any indoor meeting I'm in, ever, all of our participants are wearing the mask just because that air is recirculated and you know it is still a deadly virus and we're not letting our guard down and protection, social distancing, wearing the mask remain key to prevention of the spread and contracting it.”
Dr. Smith says it’s important for everyone to get the flu vaccine because you could get both viruses at the same time. He also says now is the time to get the vaccine, because they tend to see flu cases begin in mid-October.