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Valley health officials prepare for cold and flu season amid pandemic

Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 24, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Local health officials are already preparing for another cold and flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, they're expecting another year with a relatively low number of cases.

"In years prior to COVID-19, we've actually seen quite a lot of flu activity that has lasted through the year," said Dr. Janice Johnston, Chief Medical Officer with Redirect Health.

"Since the pandemic happened, however, we've seen very little cases of the flu and I would anticipate we will probably not see the peaks we've seen in previous years," she added.

According to the state's department of health, the number of flu cases has dropped about 97% compared to the 2019-2020 flu season.

Still, Johnston said families should be consider getting tested if they do feel sick because some flu and cold symptoms are similar to COVID-19 symptoms.

"What we're seeing now -- especially vaccinated people -- they're not getting as severe symptoms so it might not feel so bad," Johnston said.

"They might get some congestion, a headache, maybe even a sore throat and it might feel like your typical cold symptoms but it's actually COVID-19," she said.

Johnston said the flu season usually starts later in the year but can last through the summer.