FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno County Department of Health has asked that families take every precaution they can this time of year, especially as we head into the holidays, to protect loved ones and themselves from respiratory illnesses with the hospital system already stretched so thin.

They say this “Tripledemic” of COVID, RSV, and the flu continues to spread at a rapid rate with the holidays right around the corner, and they project a tough couple of months heading out of them.

Officials recommend everyone who’s eligible to get their updated bivalent COVID booster, which is now available for everyone six months and up, as well as the flu shot.

If you head out to shop for presents, or if you are just out and about, they ask you to take those extra precautions like masking and social distancing if possible.

Another step you can take is to have COVID tests readily available and test regularly if you feel under the weather.

Last but not least, stay home if you don’t feel well.

“We’ve got the playbook. We’ve just got to put the playbook into action and it’s go-time to do that,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer for Fresno County Public Health.

Officials say they hope to limit as many of these viral infections as possible, as they expect another spike heading into the new year.

“We’re gonna have a busy season after January when everyone comes back from the holidays. Whether it’s flu, whether it’s RSV, whether it’s COVID, just know there’s most likely gonna be a lot of respiratory viruses,” said Joe Prado, Assistant Director of Fresno County Department of Health.

Officials also continue to urge county residents to utilize urgent care sites, primary care doctors, and telehealth if not in an emergency.

Their “Assess and Refer” policy is still in effect as emergency rooms and EMS still find themselves slammed with the current surge of respiratory illness.