Increase in rhinovirus cases in the Piedmont Triad

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — The staff at High Point Regional Hospital has been busy for the past few weeks treating people for rhinovirus.

The virus is similar to a common cold or the flu but if left untreated, it can turn into something much more serious like pneumonia, according to Andrea McQuaigue, a nurse with the hospital.

“Our emergency room has been extremely busy,” McQuaigue said.

Since early December, about 12 to 15 people have come into the emergency department per day with respiratory issues. Most of them with rhinovirus, according to McQuaigue.

It’s an uptick the hospital usually sees around the holidays.

“They’re visiting and they’re seeing other people and they’re out in the public,” she said.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center hasn’t had an uptick.

Novant Health says while it hasn’t seen more of the rhinovirus, it saw a small increase in people treated for the flu and flu-like symptoms earlier this month.

McQuaigue says washing your hands and getting rest are the best ways to avoid getting the rhinovirus.

“If you’re sick, stay home that’s the biggest thing,” McQuaigue said.