Flu, cedar fever could bring problems in fight against COVID-19

At a Cedar Park health clinic, a lot of those driving up Monday were getting a COVID-19 test but something else was showing up: the Flu.

"'The Flu-A specifically has started to pop up for us, and we expect that will ramp up shortly here in the fall,” said Dr. Edward Brooks with Family Emergency Room.

Dr. Brooks believes local medical professionals are prepared to treat the flu during the pandemic. There is, however, a wildcard; Cedar Fever. Trees are showing signs of the explosion of pollen to come.

The allergic reaction and the flu, both have symptoms similar to COVID19; a fever, scratchy throat, and feeling run down. "We are in a situation now where we could have a triple whammy, if you will, and that will possibly lead to an influx of people into our ER's and hospitals around the area to get tested for different illnesses,” said Dr. Brooks.

For people like Brandon Melendez, how a misdiagnosis could affect his family. is a worry. "What would bring me peace, I think is maybe quicker testing, rapid testing, if they get that, if I get COVID, and went into my local doctor if I could get a what would look like a strep test, within 15 minutes of, have you don’t have COVID, or yes this is Cedar Fever,” said Melendez.

A new test is coming according to Derrick Neal; Executive Director with the Williamson County and Cities Health District. "With those tests, they are discussing now, that are going to be hitting the market soon, they're less than $10 and you'll be able to test yourself daily,” said Neal.

Testing is a way back to normalcy, Neal told FOX 7. "I believe we have the resources in Williamson County as well as in our region to be able to handle an onslaught, but keep in mind we are almost overwhelmed with COVID19,” said Neal.

Cases of COVID are dropping statewide, and that good news could be a problem. Some students are back in classrooms and during the recent holiday weekends, there were many cases of people not practicing Social Distancing.

As a result, Neal said conditions are tenuous. "So our fear, in terms of the other 63 health department directors is, that I know, throughout  Texas, is us resting on our Laurels, and not being able to handle the success of declining numbers and we break away from the mitigation practices that we've been using that has gotten us to this point,” said Neal.

Being prepared for what’s coming is not limited to the medical community. Everyone is involved.  A big part of the strategy continues to be masks.

Nic Green, who was working out at Millburn Park agreed, addressing the coming fight will take teamwork and self-discipline. "The medical professions, they've put out what we need to do, just follow it,” said Green.

The effort at prevention includes a warning; don’t try to tough out any illness. Doctors like Dr. Edward Brooks tells FOX 7 those who feel seek should seek care. "It could certainly be an interesting Fall and Winter,” said Dr. Brooks.

The hospital overflow facility at the Austin Convention Center remains open, but at this time, no patients have been transferred there.