Local Hospitals See High Emergency Room Numbers Due to Flu

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At Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, the number of flu cases coming in has made it a much busier week than normal.

"In the last week, we've seen almost 600 patients relative to flu-like symptoms," said Jackie Liebowitz, Vice President of Patient Care Continuum at Allegiance Hospital.

And like many hospitals around the country, the emergency room has been seeing the most action.

"23 percent of the patients coming through the E.R. are having flu-like symptoms," said Liebowitz. "We actually saw our highest volume ever in the history of the organization last week in the E.R."

For Allegiance, that means some adjustments have had to be made, like bringing in more staff.

"We're having to bring in agency staff, we're having our staff work extra hours to be able to accommodate that," said Liebowitz. "We've also had to open extra in-patient beds."

Because the health of all patients is the number one priority, the hospital is also doing something it's never done before.
It's requiring all staff members to have a flu shot.

"We've offered it in the past and we were 40 to 50 percent compliant," said Liebowitz. "Now, we're 100 percent compliant."

Sparrow Hospital is also seeing their fair share of flu cases -- with seven cases bad enough to be hospitalized.
While these are high numbers for so early in the season, robin roach says the worst is yet to come.

"We're not at the peak yet," said Robin Roach, Director of Infection Prevention at Sparrow. "We're still moving up to our largest time of seeing flu cases."

Because of that sparrow is asking patients to wait before coming to the emergency room.

"The best thing for people to do is consult their own primary care provider to see if they're sick enough to be seen," said Roach.

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