RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Healthcare systems are preparing for an uptick in respiratory viruses that include COVID-19, flu, and RSV, also known as the "Big Three," this winter.
This comes even as North Carolina has seen a decrease in emergency department visits for respiratory viruses and hospital admissions for COVID-19 as of October.
However, with the Big Three circulating, WakeMed infection prevention specialist Jessica Dixon said they've seen an increase in emergency department visits for "influenza-like" illnesses overall.
"Of all the respiratory viruses, COVID is still the predominant one that we're seeing," Dixon said. "What we are starting to see right now here at WakeMed ... is an increase in RSV cases for about the past month and we expect that trend will continue."
Children, especially infants, are at high risk for complications from RSV. However, according to State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson, we are better prepared than before when it comes to protection.
"The good news is that we have the tools to protect people from COVID and flu and RSV this year," Tilson said. "We have the updated vaccine ... treatment if they get the flu, and with RSV, we have a vaccine for people over 60 and for pregnant women. And also, we have a preventive medicine for infants as well."
Tilson also encouraged people to get COVID-19 tests. You can order free at-home tests here.