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COVID-19, flu hospitalizations begin to rise as the holiday season begins

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — COVID-19 hospitalization rates are once again on the rise concerning local doctors.

Dr. Christopher Doehring, the Franciscan Health Vice President of Medical Affairs said, “We’re definitely seeing a significant increase, here at Franciscan we’ve had a doubling of our total number cases over the last three weeks or so. We’ve also seen flu rise from basically nothing to right on par with our COVID-19 population in the hospital.”

It was around this time last year that cases slowly started to rise before a sharp drop off towards the end of winter.

Doehring says there are about 30 people hospitalized at Franciscan for COVID-19 but the cases are less severe this year. He expects numbers to continue to rise.

“We’re inside, we’re gathering with friends and family, we’re interacting in close quarters for extended periods of time,” Doehring said. “And it’s that time of the year to be spreading all sorts of viruses.”

COVID-19 is now a concern on top of the standard cold and flu as well as the new addition of RSV.

“It just puts a lot of stress on vulnerable populations for each of those viruses,’ Doehring said. “Thankfully RSV has been dropping pretty significantly over the last couple of weeks and it looks as though at least for now that the COVID-19 severity with these currently circulating strains isn’t quite what it has been with past surges.”

Doehring says there is protection in the way of the flu shot, updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, and natural immunity for those that were infected.

“The time is now for both the flu and your COVID-19 booster if you’re outside of that four to the six-month window,” Doehring said.

Doehring reminds everyone that vaccines do not provide blanket immunity but will help reduce the severity of the case.