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Arkansas health officials seeing more COVID-19 and flu cases

Arkansas is seeing an increase in both respiratory viruses... some people could even catch them at the same time.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — COVID cases are increasing at record high rates, but also flu season is ramping up as well.

In Arkansas, we are seeing high levels of flu and other illnesses like it... leading to a battle of the viruses.

"People who think they have COVID sometimes find out they have flu instead. So, it's hard to say which one it is based on the symptoms alone," said Brittany Sanders, a pharmacist at Pharmacy at Wellington.

Many of the symptoms are similar: fever, body aches, fatigue, and cough.

The Pharmacy at Wellington has been seeing consistent lines for testing and vaccinations for COVID-19 and flu. People can get vaccinated inside, while people needing to get tested stay curbside. Sanders said they see a couple hundred people a day. 

Some of their customers testing for both viruses simultaneously, however Sanders said that's only a handful of people and not the majority.

If you need to get vaccinated or tested, you can make an appointment by going to the Pharmacy at Wellington website.

"Having both would be active and that certainly would be much harder on the respiratory tract, as well as the inflammation and the toll that it would take on their body," said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Arkansas' Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Dillaha predicts both flu and COVID will continue to increase in the meantime, but that could change if we take the right precautions.

"It's possible if people take the important steps to prevent the spread of COVID, such as masking and social distancing and staying home when they're sick, we could potentially see a decrease of transmission in flu," said Dr. Dillaha.

The department of health does not track flu cases like COVID cases. They only track flu hospitalizations and deaths. So far this year, Arkansas has had 1 flu-related death. Last year during our mild flu season, we had 24 deaths.

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