Because the flu season has reached its peak and health facilities are seeing a rapid increase in the number of individuals that burst through hospitals’ doors exhibiting flu and flu-like symptoms, St. Rita’s Medical Center closed its doors to visitors. Official records show there have been 138 reported cases of flu-like illness at the health facility during the weekend. Out of the 138 individuals, however, only 18 have been admitted and are currently under medical care.
St. Rita’s Medical Center announced all visitors, especially those with symptoms such as sneezing, fever, coughing, diarrhea, and runny nose and children under the age of 14 are banned from entering the facility. However, the restriction is lifted without question in case of an emergency. Furthermore, there is no time limit to the restriction and will be in place as long as it is needed, says communications coordinator at St. Rita’s Medical Center, Courtney O’Banion.
The emergency measure has been implemented because of the sudden rise in the number of patients with flu-like symptoms that sought medical help in the first month of 2017. Hence, during the first weeks of January, the Allen County Health Department was dealing with 26 cases of severe influenza which also required admission. More worrying is that the trend sticks to February, as well. Not only that, but during the second month of 2017, hospitals experienced an increase in the number on influenza-associated hospitalizations, with 27 patients so far in need of medical attention, said Jeanetta Francy, Allen County Health Department Epidemiologist.
“So, from February 1st to February 7th, we had more cases reported than we did during the entire month of January”, Jeanetta Francy said.
She added that flu cases are reported to the Department of Health, only if it results in a hospitalization. Hence, if a person goes to a doctor and tests positive for type-A influenza, that report won’t be forwarded to the Department of Health.
Health experts say that influenza generally has an incubation period of one to four days. After that, the patient will start exhibiting symptoms such as headaches, fever, sore muscles, chills, cough (although this is not present in all patients”, and runny nose. Even now, physicians say it is still not too late to get the flu vaccine.
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