Midland emergency room sees uptick in visits from those with flu symptoms

Published: Dec. 31, 2019 at 7:51 PM CST
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Midland Memorial Hospital has implemented a flu visitation plan after seeing an increase in flu cases and those visiting the emergency room with flu-like symptoms, according to the hospital’s prevention expert, Val Sparks.

“We had over 450 individuals in the last week. And over 45 percent of those tested positive for influenza. We are also seeing a large number of RSV in our infants, that’s respiratory Syncytial Virus,” Sparks said.

Sparks said the number of those going to the MMH ER with flu symptoms is cause for concern because the number has almost quadrupled in a month.

“This is really high. Previously, a month ago, we were seeing a hundred or so in the emergency department with flu-Like symptoms. And now we’re over 450 in a week,” she said.

Sparks said the last time the hospital saw an increase like this for flu symptoms was back in January of 2018. The hospital then implemented a visitation policy.

The flu visitation plan was implemented again today to prevent the flu from spreading to those recovering and being treated at the hospital.

The hospital is asking children under 14 to not visit in-patient areas and those with flu symptoms to not visit patients.

The expert also encourages residents to cover their coughs and wash their hands. Sparks added that flu cases are expected to continue into early 2020.

“We anticipate this going on for maybe the next four to six weeks due to the holidays. Everybody was together, the weather has turned a little chillier, people are staying indoors, and spreading this,” Sparks said.

The hospital is also taking other steps to prevent the flu from spreading.

Sparks said some staff members have received the flu shot. Employees that have not received the shot must wear masks when treating patients.

Employees wash their hands even more now, and patients are provided with hand sanitizer on their trays, according to Sparks.

Flu stands have also been set up at hospital entrances with hand sanitizer and masks for visitors.