Oakland County reminds of flu shot importance, safety at the polls

As state officials continue to express concerns over rising coronavirus cases, Oakland County’s medical director is also sounding the alarm about fighting this virus during flu season.

"If you are co-infected with COVID-19 and influenza it more than doubles your risk of mortality," said Dr. Russell Faust.

That’s why doctors are pushing the flu vaccine this season, though it's not just in efforts to fight the flu.

"The influenza vaccine has kind of a generic effect on the body, on your immune system, so that immune boost helps decrease your risk of getting infected with COVID-19," Dr. Faust said.

In addition to the flu vaccine, following key protocols like social distancing and mask-wearing are shown to be effective.

"This is going to save lives," Dr. Faust said, holding up a face mask.

State officials are also increasing efforts so people know when they’ve been exposed. Starting Monday, restaurants in the state must keep a customer’s name and phone number for contact-tracing purposes.

But as Dr. Faust pointed out, for that effort to be effective people need to cooperate when contacted by health department officials.

"Too high a proportion of folks we contact just tell us to take a hike," he said. 

But there is some good news to report about the virus. Fewer people are dying and the numbers of people being hospitalized are also down.

"We’re actually seeing little to no transmission within the schools. All these students and staff that we're seeing are positive are coming from in from outside exposures," Dr. Faust said.

The worry of Election Day exposure is also just around the corner now.

Although many have voted by absentee ballot, if you are going to a polling site Dr. Faust has some advice to keep yourself as safe as possible. 

"When you go to the polls, remember: mask, distance, try not to touch your face. Take some hand sanitizer with you, wash hands when you get home."