Valley Flu Outbreak Overwhelms Hospital

December 22, 2008 2:12:49 PM PST
A flu outbreak has a valley hospital trying to handle its own emergency this morning. The hospital ran out of room to treat all their patients because of the overflow of flu cases.Kaweah Delta Hospital set up this tent outside in the parking lot to deal with all the patients coming here. They expect to keep it up through the weekend. This flu outbreak is the first time it's been used to handle all the patients.

The number of emergency room visits at Kaweah Delta has jumped from an average of 190 a day to 250 because of the flu. So many people with serious flu symptoms have come to the hospital, staff set up a tent outside to deal with the overflow. Those with the least serious symptoms are treated here.

Maria Rodello came here to see her father in law and was surprised to find him in the tent. "We came to see him because he was in a car accident...it was crazy we didn't expect him to be in a tent," said Rodello.

The hospital insists everyone is getting good care. The flu outbreak has also created temporary shortages of flu medications, like Tamiflu. "We ran out of it last week, but we have plenty of it now," said Pharmacy Technician Aemelia Carasco.

Further north in Fresno, The Fresno County Health Department reports an unusual number of cases too. "Last Friday we did get a report from a local private school that out of a student body of 207 students, 50 students were out with the flu, almost 25% which is a very high rate of illness," said David Luchini of the Fresno County Health Department.

Flu season lasts through April. Health professionals advise that you wash your hands thoroughly, don't go to work or school if you're sick to avoid contaminating others and if you don't already have the flu it is not too late to get a flu shot.


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