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State prepares for flu season as COVID-19 pandemic continues

State of Texas holds roundtable on flu season

Gov. Greg Abbott met with medical experts and state leaders Aug. 6 to discuss the upcoming flu season while Texas and the nation is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by the Office of the Texas Governor

As Texas tries to rein in COVID-19, state leaders are preparing for another virus.

Gov. Greg Abbott held a roundtable discussion Aug. 6 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas to talk about the upcoming flu season.

“As we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for the upcoming flu season, Texans must remain vigilant in our collective efforts to maintain infection control,” the governor stated in a media release.

Medical experts, state legislators, and state agency leaders joined the governor for the roundtable to discuss the importance of flu vaccines and outline proactive steps the state can take to deal with both the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and the influenza virus. 

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services’ COVID-19 monitor, the state had just over 450,000 positive cases and 7,497 fatalities as of Aug. 5. The daily new case count has dipped since reaching an all-time high of 10,791 on July 15, according to state data. The state recorded 8,706 new cases on Aug. 5. 

The number of COVID-19-related daily deaths has dropped off significantly since peaking at 209 on July 15. Texas recorded no new deaths on Aug. 5, according to the state, and only 15 since Aug. 1.

Locally, as of Aug. 4, the state reported 544 total positive cases in Burnet County and seven deaths. On Aug. 3, Llano County’s state-reported numbers were 141 total positive cases and four deaths.

Even though COVID-19 numbers appear to be improving, Abbott pointed out that now is not the time to let up. He reminded people to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, and wash their hands to keep COVID-19 numbers trending in a positive direction.

During the flu roundtable, the governor and other leaders talked about ways to increase COVID-19 and flu testing capabilities as the flu season approaches. They pointed out that steps for slowing the spread of both are similar. 

Abbott said that a simultaneous, parallel approach to both COVID-19 and the flu will be key in the state’s efforts to protecting people and reducing the number of active cases and hospitalizations. 

The governor urged Texans to get a flu vaccine as the season approaches. The state determines that flu season starts the first week of October and runs through mid-May, though it collects data on the disease throughout the year.