Only a few weeks into the new year and the flu epidemic has reached a new high. Alabama State Health Officials are saying it’s a crisis. A press conference was held on Friday to remind people of the seriousness of the issue.
“We have a crisis situation going on with the numbers of patients who have been infected with influenza,” says Acting State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. The state released an update and a warning about the dangerous number of people with the flu.
Hospitals are overrun and it’s affecting the way they treat patients.
Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama had to stop accepting patients because the beds were full. The Medical Center is one of the two largest hospitals in the Dothan area. The hospitals started asking anyone who is not in a life and death situation to stay home.
Governor Kay Ivey has issued a proclamation declaring a public health emergency that allows health facilities to implement “alternative standards of care”. That allows them to treat larger numbers of patients in a slightly different way than normal.
Seven of the eight health districts in the state have hospitals that are at 90% capacity or greater. If you can get treatment from your doctor over the phone, then do so. They tell people to stay home for at least five to seven days if you’re sick to prevent infecting others. And it’s not too late to get the flu shot, not just for your sake but others as well.
In Huntsville, Alabama some schools were canceled for a few days because many students and faculty called out sick.
The manager of the infection prevention at Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart Health Center in Panama City, she says the area is under a mild flu advisory.
To help prevent catching the flu or other respiratory infections be sure to wash your hands often, clean and disinfect areas that people come in contact with, and get vaccinated.