JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging the public to wear face masks indoors once again due to a ‘tripledemic.’

The CDC has reported a strong concern of outbreak of cases in three main illnesses and viruses: COVID-19, the flu, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

According to the CDC, 13.7 percent of Americans currently live in communities that are now rated “high” in COVID-19 communities.

Many medical centers nationwide have reported higher rates of hospitalizations as nursing homes are pushing boosters for residents.

Last week, leaders with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) said there has been an increase in COVID-19 and flu cases in recent weeks across the state.

State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney said the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Mississippi has decreased recently.

This year, flu season started early in Mississippi. In recent weeks, the worst flu activity has largely been in the South.

Flu season typically starts in November and lasts as late as March in Mississippi, but usually peaks anywhere between December and February. According to the CDC, Mississippi has seen very high flu activity this year.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported Mississippi is one of the states that has a low flu vaccination rate.

Dr. Geri Weiland, a pediatrician at Merit Health River Region, said learning ways to protect yourself during the COVID-19 can help during this tripledemic.

“Masks can help as we’ve always recommended mask to those who suffer with problems with their immune system,” said Weiland.

She said she has noticed many residents have started wearing masks again while shopping.

“Many of us doctors are pushing and enforcing the vaccines more than anything as it is important for protection,” Weiland said.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers encouraged Mississippians to get their flu and COVID-19 booster shots as soon as possible.

Seasonal influenza vaccinations are now available for children and qualifying adults at all MSDH county health departments. To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/flu.

The new bivalent COVID-19 booster shot is also available at county health departments. Appointments can be made through covidvaccine.msdh.ms.gov or by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 877-978-6453.