Calvert Memorial Hospital has beefed up staffing in its emergency department and expanded services at its satellite facilities to deal with the sudden influx of sick patients with the flu and other seasonal ailments that hit this week.
"We're doing everything we can to speed up care in the ER but when it's very busy there could potentially be longer waits," said hospital spokesperson Kasia Sweeney. "I want to let residents know they have other options available to them for non-emergent care."
Sweeney said that Calvert Convenient Care has added another provider to handle the increased demand for same-day sick appointments in the next two weeks. Located in Suite 201 of the Calvert Medical Arts Center on the main hospital campus in Prince Frederick, Calvert Convenient Care is open from 1-8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 12-6 p.m. on Friday.
"Families can also consider using one of the hospital's urgent care centers," Sweeney added, "that are located in Dunkirk and Solomons." The centers, which treat adults and children, are open from 5-10 p.m. on weekdays and from noon-10 p.m. on weekends.
"Patients can also contact their primary care physician for an appointment," said Sweeney. "Many are offering extended hours for sick visit".
It's also not too late to get your flu shot. "This year's vaccine is effective with 98 percent of the flu we've seen so far this season," said Sweeney. Everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated.
She went on to add, "The majority of the flu-like illness we've seen seems to be occurring in children and young adults, which is consistent with what we saw last year with the H1N1 flu."
The Calvert County Health Department is offering a flu vaccine clinic on Thursday, Feb. 17 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Regular hours for flu vaccine are 8:30-10 a.m. Monday to Friday and from 1-3 on Mondays (except holidays). No appointment is necessary. FluMist and injectable vaccine are available.