MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — The Mississippi State Department of Health says flu, COVID-19, and RSV cases are pushing hospitals to the limit.

With the holiday season just weeks away and as many families prepare for gatherings, the state of Mississippi is also bracing itself for flu season.

“We’ve had an early start to our influenza season. The activity has been increasing now for a number of weeks. We are still seeing very high flu activity in the state,” said Mississippi State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

Like many other states, Mississippi is seeing a tripledemic of flu, RSV, and COVID-19.

“Certainly that can lead to increase illnesses, increase severe disease, hospitalizations and, unfortunately, increased death,” Byers said.

The state’s health system, already hard hit by two years of COVID-19, is once again seeing a strain on hospital Intensive Care Unit beds.

“We are down to 65 ICUs statewide, which is moving in the direction of what we were seeing the last two winters, and our level one and Level 2, our larger referral hospitals we are down to 27,” said Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney. “That’s 27 beds for us to use for everything and that includes trauma, stroke heart attacks, and not just flu and COVID.”

Some patients have even tried transferring to Tennessee hospitals but weren’t accepted.

“New reports of trying to put transfers that were booked for today as of noon in some of the Tennessee facilities were not accepting transfers,” Dr. Byers said.

Doctors say reducing virus severity and the need to stay out of the hospital can be done if people get their flu and booster shots.

“It’s important now to get that booster if you’re eligible. Additionally, with the flu vaccine, we know we have to get it every year in order to protect us from infections, hospitalizations, and deaths,” Byers said.

The Mississippi State Department of Health says that beyond the flu shot, antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu can reduce the severity of illness and shorten the duration.