Dr. Dustin Ellis, Chief-of-Staff at Sullivan County Community Hospital joined Shelby and David this morning on WTWO 6:30 Today to talk about rising COVID numbers, and other potentially dangerous illnesses. You can see the full interview in the video box at the top of the page.

SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Local health experts are warning about a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country and in the Wabash Valley.

“Locally, we are starting to see some increases in COVID,” explains Dr. Dustin Ellis, Chief-of-Staff at Sullivan County Community Hospital. “It’s not a huge spike, but, with the release of the new vaccine, we hope to get ahead of that before we see an increase in the cases over the winter months and the “cold and flu season.”

COVID-19 isn’t the only concern. Doctors report RSV cases are also rising in states across the country, according to an alert from the CDC.

Deadly RSV cases on the rise in the U.S.

RSV causes cold-like symptoms for most people, but can be scary for infants, young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, according to The Hill. The virus kills between 100 and 300 children under 5 and as many as 10,000 people over 65 annually, according to CDC estimates.

Dr. Ellis said tips we used during the COVID-19 pandemic kept flu cases low during the height of the crisis, and recommends residents use those same tips to prevent COVID, RSV and Flu.

“Simple things work really well. Good hand washing, staying home when you’re sick, definitely not going to work or school when someone is running a fever,” Ellis continued. “Those simple things make a big difference. And, being vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization or death.”

Doctors urge you to get vaccinated now

Sullivan County Community Hospital will host a drive-thru flu vaccine clinic later this month on Thursday, September 28 at the Sullivan Civic Center from noon to 6:00 p.m. The clinic is for people ages 10 and up.

Hospital officials offered the following tips for those who want to attend the clinic:

  • Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Insurance will be accepted
  • No cash, checks or cards will be accepted
  • Bring photo ID and insurance cards
  • Patients under 18 must be accompanied by a parent / guardian.
  • Wear sleeves that allow access to the injection site.
  • Leave all pets at home
  • To save time, fill out a consent form prior to your visit and bring the form with you. CLICK HERE to access the form

Earlier this week, the CDC approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine for this fall.

Tuesday, CDC advisers voted overwhelmingly to approve the vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older.

The final decision now falls to CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, who is expected to sign off on the committee’s recommendations as soon as Tuesday evening, according to reporting from NBC News

That move would then clear the way for shots, projected to be available within the next 48 hours in some areas, the CDC said.

It’s unclear whether most people will get them, however, just 17% of people who were eligible for the last booster shot in 2022 got it.