Breaking News
More () »

Doctors, public health agencies warn of uptick in COVID-19 and flu cases

It comes as the CDC recommends a new COVID vaccine. Public Health of Seattle & King County says it's worth it to get the shot.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Dr. Bryce Munson with Overlake Medical Center and Clinics said she and fellow practitioners have been seeing an uptick in patients with COVID-19 and the flu, and she's encouraging people to take precautions heading into the fall season.

"For about the last month we've definitely had an uptick in COVID," Dr. Munson said. "In our clinics we do test-to-treat, meaning if you've had symptoms for five days and are a candidate for Paxlovid, we test you, and those test results are showing about a 39% positivity rate in our clinics, and that's not even counting the folks who are doing home testing."

Dr. Munson said over the last week, providers have also tested for influenza with classic flu symptom, including several positive Influenza A cases in people who'd traveled recently. 

"Priority number one is getting vaccinated. If you can't get it at your primary care providers, all of the pharmacies are giving free flu immunizations, so please get that one. Personally, I've gotten mine, I got it yesterday, which is about a month earlier than previous years," Dr. Munson said. "In terms of the new COVID19 vaccine, the new booster that targets the newer variants should be reaching our pharmacies, I've been told, in about a week. So I'd wait for that booster as opposed to the current one."

She said if you're feeling symptoms of either illness, anyone who is immunosuppressed or has other chronic health conditions should come in soon to have vital signs checked. If otherwise healthy and just experiencing mild symptoms, she said people should stay home to avoid spreading illness elsewhere. 

"I think we all need to live our lives and not be too timid to go out and do what we need to do, but I think handwashing, staying home if you're sick and getting vaccinated, those are key," Dr. Munson said.

Public Health of Seattle & King County on updated COVID vaccines

Dr. Mia Shim, chief medical officer for Community Health Services for Public Health-Seattle & King County, encourages people to get vaccinated following the CDC's recommendation to get a shot with the updated formula. 

"Our immunity wanes over time and the COVID-19 virus continues to change into different variants. COVID-19 vaccines remains a safe and important tool to protect people from serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness," Dr. Shim said. "This is especially important for older adults and people with underlying health conditions, but these vaccines are also important at protecting all people- including healthy people- from severe consequences of illness or getting long COVID conditions."

The CDC recommended updated vaccinations for anyone over 6 months. Dr. Shim said for children, anyone 5 years and older, regardless of previous vaccinations, is eligible for one dose of the updated vaccine at least two months after the administration of that vaccine. For children 6 months through 4 years old who are unvaccinated, they should complete a multi-dose series. Children 6 months through 4 years who were previously vaccinated can receive one or two doses of the updated vaccine, dependent on which formula. 

"COVID-19 cases are rising and infants and older adults have the highest hospitalization rates," Dr. Shim said. "This fall and winter as we gather indoors, we need to remember some simple ways to keep everyone safe and protected from COVID-19, the flu and other respiratory illnesses."

Dr. Shim said that includes washing hands regularly, wearing a mask when in crowds, and getting vaccinated. 

You can learn more from Public Health-Seattle & King County here and learn about back to school vaccination events here

Before You Leave, Check This Out