Recently, a “triple threat” of respiratory viruses — influenza, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — have spread across the nation and threatened San Diego County. In response, the federal and county governments and regional medical systems have mobilized several initiatives and resources. To raise awareness of this public health concern and discuss our comprehensive prevention and response efforts, I joined Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, County Supervisor Nora Vargas, CEO of UC San Diego Health Patty Maysent, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, and several other leaders for a press conference and roundtable discussion in San Diego.
Together, we emphasized the importance of proven public health techniques and treatments, including Covid-19 and flu vaccinations, boosters, masking and other simple health measures to keep our community safe and healthy as we approach the winter months. By implementing these disease prevention steps on an individual level, the public can reduce the spread of these respiratory illnesses and help protect our most vulnerable neighbors. We also highlighted the coordinated efforts between the federal government, regional health providers, and county and local officials to ensure the best public health outcomes in San Diego and nationwide.
As the top-ranked academic health system in the region and a research powerhouse, UC San Diego Health plays a crucial role in preventing disease, developing treatments, providing care, and distributing public health information throughout our community. We have a long history of working closely with key regional partners to improve health and education outcomes, such as Covid-19 mitigation.
UC San Diego’s robust bi-national and regional partnerships empowered us to quickly mobilize in March 2020 to keep our campus community safe. We were proud to provide the first vaccination superstation and the first mobile vaccination station. We developed wastewater testing for Covid-19 that is now being used to monitor RSV. We partnered with Google and Apple to test and help roll out CA Notify, a free exposure notification system, statewide. Our team of physicians, epidemiologists, disease modelers, researchers engineers and data scientists continued our long tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration to address global challenges. These efforts are part of our overall focus on health equity and access for all, which we will continue during this “triple-threat” of respiratory virus spread.
UC San Diego Health stands ready to expand partnerships with HHS and the County of San Diego to research, prevent and respond to emerging public health concerns. I thank Secretary Becerra, County Supervisor Vargas, and the many other participants in this effort for their leadership and partnership. We will continue to lead and collaborate to promote healthy outcomes and ensure equitable access to care throughout our community – it is our mission.
To learn how you can combat the spread of these viruses and stay healthy, read "Federal, State and Local Leaders Urge Protection Against Virus Trio" on the County News website.