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'Tipping point' feared as rising flu, COVID-19 add to RSV’s strain on Colorado hospitals

“Tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu and RSV raises possibility that non-emergency surgeries could be postponed again
Posted at 7:47 AM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 09:50:28-05

DENVER — Flu and COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising in Colorado at a time when pediatric capacity is already strained by a surging respiratory virus, leading health providers to fear they could have to postpone surgeries again if too many people get sick in the coming weeks.

Clinics in the UCHealth system recorded 1,160 positive tests for influenza in the last week, which was a “huge jump” from 495 cases a week earlier, said Dr. Michelle Barron, the system’s senior medical director of infection prevention and control.

While most of those people will recover at home, some inevitably will need hospital care, which is a problem when COVID-19 hospitalizations are also rising and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, continues to put a severe strain on the capacity to care for pediatric patients, she said.

“The more people that get it, the more chances there are that someone will have a complication,” she said of the flu. “I feel like we’re again at the tipping point.”

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