Viral infection rates on the rise: How to keep healthy going into fall?

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It’s been about two weeks now since the new school year started — and already some children have come down with colds and the flu.

Among adults, doctors are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in Monroe County.

What’s the prognosis for public health as we approach fall?

Dr. Michael Mendoza, commissioner of public health for Monroe County, confirms that viral infection rates are on the rise.

“We know that the numbers are increasing. I think we need to go back to basics,” Mendoza said.

According to the Monroe County Health Department, since the beginning of the pandemic the county has recorded over 196,000 positive COVID cases, and over 2,000 deaths. Today, doctors are trying to stay ahead of new COVID variants that continue to pop up.

Mendoza says that also extends to both colds and flu.

“We hope that it doesn’t translate into an increase in hospitalizations. It has not yet, which is good so far, but we’re still very early in the season,” Mendoza said.

News10NBC asked Mendoza what is being done right now.

“We’re doing surveillance on all these strains,” he said. “What we look for is whether they translate into an increase in the severity of illness, which can be seen in terms of hospitalization numbers. We’re seeing an increase now; it may be the seasonal part of COVID. There may be something new about this particular variant, probably too early to say. So I think we’re going to follow the numbers into the fall and see where things end up.”

Mendoza says self-protection is the key to keeping you and your family safe. He encourages everyone to get all available vaccines and not to overlook the basics.

“The right thing to do is if you’re sick –stay home. We encourage people who get COVID to stay home, isolate as we talked about for the last three years. Wear a mask when they exit from isolation. As long as their symptoms are getting better, they can go back into the world,” Mendoza said.

Vaccines to help prevent COVID are available for all ages after six months.