At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with flu symptoms are crowding hospitals and healthcare facilities in many cities in the state of São Paulo. Some municipalities are already preparing for the return of tents to deal with influenza cases. The outbreak spread across the interior and Baixada Santista, and was exacerbated by the further spread of H3N2 virus variant, which the vaccine has not yet combated. Municipalities designate health units for the exclusive care of patients with influenza-like symptoms.
Santos Health Minister Adriano Catapreta used social networks to announce the installation of tents in front of the Eastern and Central Emergency Care Units (UPAs). A multi-sport gym will be used as a triage center for influenza patients. The site will serve to screen patients with flu-like symptoms who seek care at UPA in the Northwest, located nearby.
He recommended, “The increase in the number of patients seeking a city health network showing flu-like symptoms is significant. If symptoms appear, stay home, and if they worsen, seek medical attention.” He pointed out that hospitalizations have not increased yet, as they are mostly mild cases. The municipality demanded an increase of 70,000 doses of vaccine for the state.
In São Jose do Rio Preto, Health Minister Aldenis Purim said the city was experiencing an outbreak of the flu and children’s hospitals were full. Residents were asked to use an alcohol mask and gel and to avoid clumps. “We have practically run out of vacancies (in hospitals), we generally need the cooperation of the population so that we do not have problems with the lack of beds.”
Last weekend, the state-run Rio Preto Children’s and Maternity Hospital recorded a maximum capacity of 30 ICU beds and a dispensary due to cases of pneumonia. The day before yesterday, the occupation in the intensive care unit decreased to 90% and the dispensary to 60%.
Jundiaí has recorded a 70% increase in care for people with flu symptoms in the past three days. While last week’s average was 400 people a day, between December 20 and 22, the average was more than 700 people.
“To expedite service, Jundiai has expanded by 30% equipment intended exclusively for receiving influenza symptoms, while taking care of adults and children,” he said in a statement.
In Guarulhos, in the metropolitan area, an outbreak of influenza filled health facilities. Videos posted on social media showed patients lying on lawns or on the ground at the UPA in the Cidade Soberana neighborhood and at the Jardim Paraventi Polyclinic. There were also people crowded on sidewalks and driveways, waiting up to three hours for help.
The city reported that there was a significant increase in the number of patients with flu-like symptoms. From December 1 to 21, 13,000 cases were treated, including H3N2 cases. This balance does not include the state and private networks.
In Taboão da Serra, also in the urban area, residents with flu symptoms complained of overcrowding and delays in attending the UPA Akira Tada, the city’s main hub. Some reports suggest waiting up to six hours. The city government reported that attendance at the UPA, Municipal Emergency Room (PSM Antena) and children’s emergency room reported a 100% increase due to outbreaks of H3N2 influenza and RSV, which affects children. Due to the increase during the week, another doctor was appointed.
the mask again
The recent outbreak of the H3N2 influenza virus has led the municipality of Ilhabela, located on the north coast, to retreat, as it issued a commitment to wear a mask in open areas.
A new ordinance signed Wednesday by Mayor Toninho Colucci (PL) specifies that face protection is mandatory everywhere, including beaches. The mask has been allowed to be used since November 20.
The city council was notified by the São Paulo government of non-compliance with the ordinance requiring the wearing of a mask throughout the state. The disobedience prompted the investigation into the Public Prosecution Office of São Paulo. However, according to the mayor, what prompted him to decline was, in addition to the higher risk of influenza transmission, the micronized variant of COVID-19, as Ilhabela receives international tourists.
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