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Medical experts warn of potential spike in flu, COVID-19 and RSV cases after the holidays

CDC: 45 states dealing with large number of respiratory illness cases
CDC: 45 states dealing with large number of respiratory illness cases 01:44

NEW YORK -- Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed by a spike in flu, COVID-19 and RSV cases, with nearly 80% of hospital beds in use.

Medical experts are warning of a potential jump in cases across the Tri-State Area following the holidays.

"My husband is actually home right now with COVID," Danielle Chambers of Washington Heights.

So for a third year now Chambers has to change her family's Christmas plans.

"Christmas is canceled for him and I will test with my daughter on Christmas Eve to make sure that we're safe to go to my parents," Chambers said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 45 states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, currently have "high" or "very high" levels of respiratory virus that is being driven by the so-called "tripledemic."

"We are up by 150% for sick visits compared to this time last year. We're up by 300% compared to this time two years ago," said Sophy Jan, division director for general pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center.

READ MORECiting rise in various illnesses, Passaic, N.J. Schools reinstate mask mandate

CBS2 got a tour Wednesday through Long Island's Northwell Health labs, where scientists are using new technology to more quickly test and identify viruses.

That will come in handy in a couple weeks when doctors expect the flu season to hit its peak.

"It is likely that we'll see an increase in emergency department visits, urgent care visits, in the days and weeks following the school break," said Matthew Harris, medical director for crisis management at Cohen Children's Medical Center.

Experts say they know people are sick of hearing the same advice, but truly the best ways to stay healthy this season are to get vaccinated for both COVID and the flu, and to wear a mask if you're around a lot of people.

There is one holiday present coming for parents and doctors. The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is releasing more doses of Tamiflu to states through the strategic national stockpile in hopes of lessening the strain on the health care system.

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