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As we approach the Christmas and New Year holiday week, state and national health officials have expressed concerns over whether a trifecta of respiratory illness might be spread as people gather in celebration.

That concern involves not only COVD-19 variants, but the usual spread of seasonal influenza and this year’s new threat, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which has been hitting children hard in some areas. It adds up to a trifecta of viruses in Colorado.

Chaffee County Director of Public Health Andrea Carlstrom.

Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health Director, reported COVID infection is currently at a ‘medium’ Centers for Disease Control community level but at a high transmission level in the county.

As before, recommendations at the medium community level are:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms.
  • Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask on public transportation.
  • You may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others.
  • If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.

The other respiratory viruses of concern, Respiratory Syncytial Virus and influenza, have been on the upswing in Colorado since before the start of the holiday season, but may have declined a bit more recently.

Still, it is the cold and flu season.

“In regard to influenza,” said Carlstrom, “we have started to see a steady stream of hospitalizations. A couple of people in their 20s as well as several older adults.”

No current hospitalizations/case numbers were provided from Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center.

“Statewide, it sounds like RSV might have peaked. We continue to hear about RSV cases in our community, and I am unaware of any hospitalizations directly due to RSV,” Carlstrom added.

For flu and COVID, the best line of protection is getting immunized, Carlstrom stressed.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, at a media briefing earlier this month, said health officials are aware of elevated influenza levels; higher than normally seen this time of year. Health officials across the country have also expressed concerns that fewer people are getting vaccinated against diseases of all sorts, even early childhood vaccinations.

CDC estimates that since Oct. 1, there have been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations (highest in a decade) and 4,500 deaths during a significantly earlier flu season thus far.

Editor note: Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests. Free, at-home COVID-19 tests are again available by mail, using this link.