Amid rising COVID infections, SoCal doctors seeing jump in another severe illness

Aside from COVID, another virus is on the radar: the flu.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- New COVID-19 cases around the country grew 34% in the last week.

California is seeing climbing cases and Los Angeles is also experiencing a spike.

Due to the highly infectious omicron subvariants, cases of COVID are starting to take off.

"We're seeing a real spike," said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Almost a doubling of what we saw at our lowest point a few weeks ago."

Garcetti said residents throughout the city and county can take advantage of a growing number of pharmacies and test-to--treat centers where those who need it can receive antiviral medications such as Pfizer's Paxlovid.

"For a long time, people couldn't get the medicine," he said. "The good news is now there's enough tests and there's enough medicine for people. In fact, there's an abundance of medicine."

On Monday, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel announced he tested positive for COVID, saying he contracted it from his daughter.

"Our daughter brought us covid (even though we specifically asked her not to) All feeling fine, I am double vaxxed and boosted," Kimmel wrote on Twitter.

READ MORE | Jimmy Kimmel tests positive for COVID, cancels taping of Monday night's 'Live' show

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Jimmy Kimmel has tested positive for COVID-19, the late-night host announced in a tweet Monday.

Taping of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" was cancelled Monday. During his absence, others will be taking over his hosting duties.

Aside from COVID, another virus is on the radar: the flu.

"We are seeing significant rates of influenza right now," said infectious disease expert Dr. David Bronstein with Kaiser Permanente in Antelope Valley.

In the last two years, the flu has been practically non-existent for Southern Californians.

Now, doctors are saying they're seeing a huge bump in seriously-ill children with the H3N2 strain.

"They are testing positive for actual influenza in May, which is unusual, but as we've seen, things are unusual right now," Bronstein said.

The season is off to a very late start so Bronstein recommends getting a flu shot if you haven't got one yet.

With all these viruses flying around, Bronstein said the emphasis needs to be on personal protection and responsibility.

"It's chaotic out there. That mask is going to protect me. So, when I'm out in public, I still wear a mask," he said.

The upswing in cases is leading to some masking changes.

University of California San Diego will be requiring masking in residential buildings and UCLA said it is closely monitoring the situation before making any amendments to its masking rules.

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