Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says early flu vaccines are a key part to the state’s plan to handle the upcoming flu season amid an ongoing pandemic.
The governor made the announcement in Dallas Thursday following a roundtable dialogue with specialists from the College of Texas Southwestern Medical Middle and Texas Division of State Well being Companies.
Abbott warned that the upcoming flu season may very well be prolific and result in larger hospitalizations if methods are usually not put in place to attenuate the unfold of influenza.
“If that results in larger hospitalizations, coupled with the hospitalizations we see for COVID-19 you might simply see how hospitals on this area, in addition to throughout Texas, may very well be fully overrun with an lack of ability for the hospital to handle the medical wants of everyone in your entire area,” Abbott stated.
One of many methods beneficial was for Texans to get a seasonal flu vaccine as early as doable with the hopes that fewer individuals are made sick or want remedy in a hospital.
“We do perceive we face a problem of a flu season not like some other,” stated Dr. Daniel Podolskly, president of UTSW. “Due to the convergence with COVID-19 … I can not emphasize too strongly your [the governor’s] message of the significance this 12 months of getting that vaccine early in order that we do every little thing we are able to to decrease the general impression of the flu and the potential stress it would place on our potential to supply all of the care wanted by the individuals in North Texas.”
Past prevention by means of a vaccine, non-pharmaceutical interventions already in place to blunt the unfold of COVID-19 also needs to serve to inhibit the unfold of influenza. Interventions reminiscent of carrying masks, washing fingers and bodily distancing.
“I simply wish to echo the theme of prevention. We wish to stop COVID-19 from spreading in our communities. We wish to stop a very dangerous flu season from coming upon us,” stated Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas DSHS. “Let’s keep the place we’re when it comes to the vigilance and the self-discipline for the measures to stop COVID-19, and in doing so I hope we can have the very mildest flu season in historical past.”
Hellerstedt added that the variety of statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 is dropping and that the pattern have to be sustained by means of the flu season if we hope to finish the pandemic.
Abbott stated different methods contain will increase in testing for each influenza and COVID-19 and that UTSW performs an necessary position in that. At present, the hospital is performing about three,000 checks per day and Abbott stated they have been engaged on methods that might improve that capability to as many as 15,000 checks per day. He hinted that different issues have been being mentioned that might improve testing to 40,000 checks per day, however didn’t say how or when which may happen.
Of the testing functionality within the state, Nim Kidd, the Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Administration, stated Thursday that there are at present 1,700 COVID-19 testing websites throughout the state and that fewer than 50 of these are state-sponsored leaving most current within the personal sector.
Lastly, PPE, or private safety tools, continues to be a premium. Abbott stated the state has already issued 130 million masks, 33 million pair of gloves, eight million robes and four million face shields to healthcare suppliers and that a further 60 million masks and 560,000 gallons of hand sanitizer have been supplied to Texas colleges. Abbott stated extra masks will probably be supplied over the course of the varsity 12 months.
Although the flu season is on the horizon, Abbott warned that “We’re not in any respect wherever near being in a protected state of affairs with COVID-19. Folks want to know that simply because COVID-19 numbers are bettering on this area doesn’t imply that COVID-19 has immediately left the Dallas-Fort Price space or the state of Texas or the USA of America. It nonetheless exists.”
“Till we have now remedies, anyone, wherever has the power to each unfold and contract COVID-19 and might result in the overrunning of hospitals in addition to result in the deaths which were on a dramatic improve within the state of Texas.