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With holidays just around the corner, how concerned should you be about COVID-19, and the flu?

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Centers for Disease Control
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COVID-19 has dropped from the headlines, but is still a concern especially as we move into the holidays and the time of year for parties, gatherings, and travel.

KCLU News checks in with leading Tri-Counties public health expert

The holiday season is at hand…and for many…it means gatherings, and travel. But, it also means a higher risk of COVID-19.

What can we expect?

"I think that we'll see a bump, but not a mad surge as we saw before," said Dr. Robert Levin, who's Ventura County’s Public Health Officer.

He says the county’s COVID numbers remain relatively low, but there are still new cases every day.

Dr. Levin says between vaccinations, and people who’ve had COVID, we are in good shape. What about holiday get-togethers, and travel?

"What people are going to do anyways, that's kind of old news. I think even last year, people were traveling around," said Levin. "I think this year it is safer to do so...if I can say that. More people are vaccinated, and there are more boosters to cover the variants."

But, COVID isn’t the only health concern right now. It’s also flu season.

"There should be concern about this flu season... just like there should be about every flu season," said Levin. "People should also get their flu vaccine, and there's now available a high powered dose for people who are older."

Dr. Levin says we can’t afford to take flu lightly, especially when there’s an easy, established form of protection.

One of the most common questions for doctors now is about whether you can get a COVID booster, and a flu shot at the same time. Dr. Levin says the answer is yes, but suggests you get one shot in each arm, to reduce soreness.

It’s been about two-and-a-half years since we had the first COVID-19 cases in the Tri-Counties. Remember how some people questioned how big a deal it was at first? Well, as of now, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties have had 378,000 documented cases. With home testing becoming common in the last year, the real total is much higher.

And, while we aren’t seeing as many COVID related deaths, they are still occurring on the Central and South Coasts. The current total is 2919 deaths for the three counties.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.