Tripledemic Comes to Maine School District
Concerns about a tripledemic — the flu, RSV and COVID 19 — became a reality in a Maine school district currently experiencing an outbreak, with 15% of staff and students out of school due to illness.
Influenza A, a stomach bug, some RSV, and some COVID have affected the Marshwood Middle School and the Central School in the Marshwood school district. They are all viral illness and easily spread from person to person, but can be slowed by applying practices learned during the pandemic, according to a statement from the district's nurses.
"Stay home when you are sick. Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, fever of 100 F or above, or sore throat, should stay home and follow the CDC recommendations," Stewart wrote on the district website. "Practice good handwashing. Vaccinate against flu and COVID. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Avoid touching your face."
"We need to do what we can to prevent transmission of these viral respiratory illnesses, whether it's through social distancing, masking, and especially getting vaccinated for those that we have vaccines for, because if we can reduce transmission and reduce illnesses in the community and across the country, we're going to help our health care systems help us," Martha Wassell, Wentworth-Douglass Hosptal's Director of Infection Prevention, told Seacoast Current in November.
The nurses noted the suggestion made Monday by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to wear a mask while indoors to reduce the chance of catching or spreading a respiratory virus. The district is not implementing a mask mandate, but encourages their use.
Added to the situation is a backlog in flu tests, which will only be administered to high risk patients going forward.