Flu patients swamping VCU Medical Center ER - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Flu patients swamping VCU Medical Center ER

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

VCU Medical Center says it's emergency room is being inundated with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. So much so, they're asking many patients to see their primary care physician.

Dr. Greg Christiansen said VCU's emergency room is seeing about 100 more patients each day because of the flu.

The Virginia Health Department reports the number of people with influenza-like symptoms is up this year compared to the last four years. In fact, twice the number of patients are going to hospitals and clinics in Central Virginia compared to just last year.

"Influenza-like illness in emergency rooms and urgent care centers, we are seeing those levels higher than we have in a couple years," said Dr. Laurie Florano with the Health Department. "But it's also atypical that the levels are this high this early in the year." 

HCA hospitals like Johnston-Willis and Chippenham are freeing up extra beds for the influx of patients.

Doctors are urging folks to get their flu shot and it is not too late in the season. Also, maintain a healthy diet and most importantly, doctors say to wash your hands.

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