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Medical professionals expect hospitalizations will increase once flu season arrives

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In the latest update from Sedgwick County, Ascension Via Christi and Wesley say they have 71 COVID-19 patients right now and 33 ICU beds are available out of 208.

Dr. Philip Newlin, chief medical officer at Ascension Via Christi, says influenza by itself is a bad actor, and during a pandemic, people need to be more careful. If not, they run the risk of a common cold turning into something much worse. He says during a typical year with no COVID-19 the number of people hospitalized for influenza is high. Now bring COVID-19 into the mix, and it could cause serious complications.

“Such as getting pneumonia or dehydration or triggering their emphysema to cause greater needs for oxygen and such. So there is going to be the addition to our already busy hospitalization from COVID-19 with these phases of influenza,” said Dr. Newlin.

Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne says although there is not a direct correlation between the flu and COVID-19 anytime someone is ill their bodies become more vulnerable.

“If anyone has ever been gambling to see ahh I won’t get the flu shot, I’ll just see if I get it. I don’t usually get the flu. This is the year to get off that fence. Nobody wants to have both of those. One of those at one time is bad enough,” said Dr. Byrne.

She also suggests that people continue practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing their hands.

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