California is now reporting very high flu levels, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the respiratory illness continues to surge nationwide.
The CDC uses five overall levels, from minimal to very high, to measure influenza-like illnesses across the U.S. and its territories. On Friday, the agency’s color-coded map showed California and 10 other states, along with New York City, shaded purple, the worst of the three shades in the very high flu level.
Since the start of October, CDC officials estimate, there have been 78,000 flu hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths nationally.
The California Department of Public Health classifies all of Southern California as having high flu levels, while Central and Northern California are rated moderate. Flu is the reason for nearly 4% of hospitalizations each week at Kaiser’s Northern California facilities, the highest in any of the prior four flu seasons.
In Los Angeles County, flu and COVID-19 cases are surging, and RSV — or respiratory syncytial virus — also remains at a high level.
“This triple threat … has a lot of potential to cause there to be significant circulating illness and to strain our healthcare system — both in terms of the number of beds that are available and the number of healthcare workers that are impacted by illness, which lowers the hospital’s capacity to take care of patients,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a recent briefing.