Cooler weather, back to school and fall often means an increase in respiratory viruses.  CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris says they are seeing an increase in COVID, flu and RSV cases in the community.  He says even though cases are on the rise these viruses can still be managed.

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Dr. Morris says COVID is still the most serious of the 3 respiratory viruses. COVID continues to be more deadly than influenza but the severity of it isn't what it used to be.  Morris says COVID is starting to look more like other respiratory illnesses it what it does to the body.  COVID symptoms tend to take awhile to develop and can be as small as a scratchy throat, runny nose and cough.  Dr. Morris says for the elderly and those with underlying symptoms COVID can become serious and cause the infected people to be hospitalized.

Symptoms of influenza include body aches, high fever, and fatigue and tends to come on quickly.

He says RSV tends to hit the very young and very old.  Morris explains infants who aren't vaccinated or their family hasn't been exposed to it are most vulnerable.  RSV symptoms, when adults contract it, resembles a common cold with its symptoms.

Dr. Morris says they do not have many cases of COVID, flu or RSV people hospitalized at St. Cloud Hospital.  Morris says the strain of COVID currently in the community is a mutation of the omicron variant.  He says if people had and recovered from COVID within the last 6 months they have some protection from getting COVID again and protection from getting severe symptoms.  Morris recommends vaccinations for those that qualify for COVID, RSV and flu this fall.  He does not foresee a need for widespread mask use but does suggest those who feel sick to wear masks to protect those around them.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Dr. Morris it is available below.



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