VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Masking and vaccination mandates may be over, but the Covid-19 virus is not and health officials say it's not their only concern this time of year.
"We are not at a point where we want to let down our guard because Covid still exists and influenza is impacting us pretty significantly this go around," Shawn Elkin with Kaweah Health Medical Center says.
Elkin says they're also seeing a rise in RSV and flu cases plus other viruses that can cause respiratory symptoms.
"We also see parainfluenza, we see enterovirus, There is a lot of different viruses circulating around and unfortunately that has a lot to do with the measures that were in place to prevent a lot of covid transmission," Elkin says. "So now as masks come off, we have a lot of those respiratory illnesses."
The Tulare and Kings County Health departments say they are prepared for massive surges in case numbers and people needing care - but hope it doesn't get to that level.
"The next two weeks will be critical," Rosemary Rahn with the Kings County health department says. "Covid numbers are elevated and going up and our CDC ranking is in high community transition."
"In terms of preparing, we will work with the state and our regional partners," Karen Elliott with the Tulare County health department says. " We rally together and use each other and tend to rally and support one another in times like these."
Health officials all around are urging people to take precautions that will keep them safe as we approach Christmas and New Years.
"Ensuring that you are vaccinated, hand hygiene, social distancing and that would be the appropriate measures to reduce acquiring something that you don't want during the holidays," Elkin says.