Hospital Hit with Rise in Flu Cases
Hospital officials say they are using every available means including adding more staff and opening extra rooms to deal with the increase of sick patients with flu-like symptoms that hit this week. At the same time, they’re encouraging area families to follow basic guidelines recommended during flu season – get vaccinated, wash hands frequently and limit contact with sick people.
“We’re doing everything we can to accommodate the spike of flu cases in our emergency department and urgent care centers,” said Kasia Sweeney, spokesperson for Calvert Memorial Hospital, “but unfortunately waits cannot be completely avoided. We thank the community for their patience.”
While the severity of illness due to flu varies from season to season, in general the very young, adults over 65 and individuals with certain medical conditions are at higher risk for developing flu-related complications.
Sweeney said the majority of flu-like illness at CMH so far this season appears to be occurring in adolescents and young adults but some elderly persons have been admitted, as well.
According to the Calvert County Health Department, the first part of this year’s flu season indicates the viral strain circulating is more serious than typical. The good news, they say, is that this year’s vaccine is an excellent match for the strain and should do a good job of keeping people healthy.
“This is why we are recommending people who have not yet received a flu vaccine to get one,” said Linda O’Brien, director of infection control at CMH. The flu shots are available at some doctor’s offices, pharmacies, grocery stores and the health department, which offers them on a walk-in basis on weekdays from 8:30-10 a.m. and Mondays (except holidays) from 1-3 p.m. for $20.
“It takes about two weeks to develop immunity,” said O’Brien, “which makes it extremely important to get vaccinated as soon as possible to maximize the chance you will be protected.”
O’Brien said that the hospital is also restricting visitors under age 12 to prevent flu transmission in vulnerable populations such as the young, elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
She went on to add, “Visitors are encouraged to use the hand-sanitizing stations that are installed around the campus. We’re also using extra caution with anyone sneezing or coughing. They will be asked to put on a mask as soon as they come in.” “Our goal is to educate residents to be active participants in helping to the spread of the flu and to keep themselves and their families healthy,” said O’Brien.
Additional updates will be posted, as needed, on the CMH website at www.calverthospital.org and the health deparment at www.calverthealth.org.