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Health leaders urge people to be mindful around crowds as illnesses spread

Health leaders urge people to be mindful around crowds as illnesses spread
Health leaders urge people to be mindful around crowds as illnesses spread 02:24

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and even an increase in strep throat cases are making many North Texans sick right now. 

Health leaders urge you to be mindful when you're around crowds of people—because it takes just one person to get a group sick. 

Doctors said it's because many people gathered with loved ones during the holidays—and let our guards down around crowds and urge all of us to be cautious. 

But this year is different. 

"COVID, a year ago we were talking about hundreds of cases admitted in the hospital, and today we're at about 30," said Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer for Parkland Health.

While COVID is still around, there's a new variant called XBB 1.5 which doctors said is less severe. 

"It's very transmissible, and a lot of people have minimal symptoms so some people get exposed and have what they think are allergies or colds and then give it to somebody who gets more severe reaction," said Dr. Jay Herd, chief medical officer for Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth.

According to the DFW Hospital Council which looks at data from 90 hospitals in North Texas, nearly a thousand people are hospitalized Wednesday with COVID-19 and about 270 people with the flu. They're calling it a spike—not a surge. 

"There's no secret to why these things spread, right, it's someone is infected, they get around people who aren't infected, and they people who aren't infected don't take precautions," added Chang. 

One reason doctors say more people are coming down with these illnesses—people aren't getting vaccinated. 

"I think people are just tired of hearing about vaccines and getting shots and things like that," added Chang. 

RSV cases have been a problem for children, now there's a strep throat strain joining that list. 

"Pediatricians are still seeing an increase in strep throat over the last two years because kids are back in school and kids are not wearing masks," added Herd. 

Doctors urge people to not show up at the emergency room unless you have a temperature of 103 or above or you're out of breath doing normal things. You can treat many of these illnesses with over the counter medication. 

Also wearing a mask can also protect you and those around you. 

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