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Health officials caution public to be prepared for illnesses with seasonal increases

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Cal State Bakersfield nursing student Glaire Antonio administers a flu shot to a walk-up visitor to Kern Public Health's flu clinic Oct. 16 at the Kern County Fairgrounds.  

An uptick in test positivity rates for flu and respiratory syncytial virus this year, coupled with the unpredictability of COVID-19, have prompted caution from local health experts about hospitals becoming full during the winter season, though an epidemiologist expressed these concerns may be premature.

Dubbed as a potential “tripledemic,” doctors may encounter a deluge of patients infected with COVID-19, flu or respiratory syncytial virus, and health officials are sounding the alarm for residents to take precaution by getting vaccinated. Respiratory syncytial virus — commonly known as RSV — primarily affects infants, vulnerable older populations and immunocompromised people by infecting their lungs.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @_ishanidesai on Twitter.