As Boston hospitals face an influx of flu and RSV patients, health officials are urging precautions ahead of Thanksgiving > Massachusetts

As Boston hospitals face an influx of flu and RSV patients, local health officials are urging residents to take precautions against COVID and other respiratory illnesses as they gather for Thanksgiving this week.

The region — and much of the US — has seen a rise in respiratory illnesses in infants and children, leading to a rise in hospitalizations for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Meanwhile, flu cases and hospitalizations are rising across Massachusetts, with the state reporting “moderate” influenza severity.

A spike in COVID cases could put even more pressure on the local health system, prompting the Boston Public Health Commission to urge residents to be mindful of COVID and other respiratory illnesses when celebrating Thanksgiving.

“With so many people traveling and spending time with family, we can reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, flu and RSV,” said Bisola Ojikutu, public health commissioner and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.

“Staying up to date on COVID-19 immunizations, getting vaccinated against the flu, wearing a well-fitting mask when traveling, and testing for COVID-19 before collecting are important ways to keep yourself and your family and Protecting friends during this holiday season,” Ojikutu added.