To keep emergency departments from becoming overrun, the Fresno County Department of Public Health is reinstating a policy to keep patients out of emergency rooms unless absolutely necessary.
"Every year during the wintertime is kind of like we call it a triple threat time," said Dr. Praveen Buddiga, Allergist and immunologist.
This time of year, Dr. Buddiga said he always sees an increase in respiratory patients.
"We're seeing an influx of patients coming in with flu, RSV as well as COVID because of the temperature drop, once the temperature drops, the respiratory viruses get activated, due to the colder temperatures," said Dr. Buddiga.
With the rise of cases, the Fresno County Department of Public Health is reimplementing a policy that began with the onset of the pandemic to keep patients out of emergency rooms unless necessary.
"What we have the paramedics do is to assess the patients and determine whether they are stable enough to fall under the assess and refer policy which is a non-emergency situation, and then they will be offered alternative means of care," said Mato Parker, Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator. "So, urgent care primary care physicians, or even telehealth."
This is all to reduce strain on staff and resources during a time when emergency calls typically increase. They're also asking people to take steps to stay healthy this holiday season recommending Covid-19 and Flu vaccines for everyone 6 months old and over, as well as RSV vaccines for people 60 and older, those who are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant, and infants 8 months and younger.
When it comes to adjusting holiday plans, Dr. Buddiga said only consider changing plans if you're experiencing symptoms, but use some precautions.
"When it comes to testing before the holidays, I would only recommend those who are showing symptoms to get tested for a particular illness, but other than that, just enjoy the holidays," said Dr. Buddiga. "Have an air purifier in for the big gatherings, and please wash your hands."
Starting Monday, people can order four free Covid tests per household from the CDC those tests will begin shipping on November 27.
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