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Local hospitals in Syracuse treating more patients for COVID, RSV and the Flu

St. Joseph's Hospital January 2024.
John Smith
A cold January afternoon outside St. Joseph's Hospital with holiday lights aglow.

Onondaga County residents are coming down with respiratory illnesses in recent weeks and that means hospitals are seeing more patients in emergency rooms. St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency Department Director Dr. Kate Watson says they first noticed an increase in patients over the holidays.

“We're seeing a high volume since Christmas of patients coming in with viral syndromes including COVID, influenza and RSV. There’s also other viruses that they’re coming in with, as well.”

The doctor adds the increased volume of patients has made the hospital very busy. She encourages everyone eligible to get the latest COVID booster, Flu vaccine, and the RSV vaccine for seniors and pregnant women. Watson says she has seen many patients at St. Joe’s who aren’t vaccinated.

“Most people I have seen have had at least the initial COVID vaccine and have had a couple boosters. I would say most people I’ve seen have not gotten the Flu shot this year and most of them have not gotten the RSV shot either.”

Watson says most of the patients admitted with COVID tend to be older and have other underlying health conditions. Upstate University Hospital is now requiring all visitors to wear masks including outpatient locations. The masking policy includes the Golisano Children’s Hospital and Community campus. They are also advising any potential visitors who feel ill to avoid coming to the hospital until their symptoms are resolved. Crouse Hospital tells WAER News they currently have about 40 patients with COVID.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Upstate University Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health are supporters of WAER.