The Flu Fills South Plains ER's - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/8/08

The Flu Fills South Plains ER's

Both Covenant and UMC are working double time to handle the increased patient load during, what some are calling, the worst influenza outbreak in a long time.

"We had our highest day Monday or Tuesday - highest census we've ever had," said Gwen Stafford, VP, Covenant Medical Center.

"We're seeing increased volume, increased numbers of patients, so our volume has certainly gone up," said Dr. Christopher Piel, UMC ER.

The flu has hit the South Plains and doctors and nurses at both Covenant and UMC are working harder than usual to meet the needs of the community.

"We're pretty much at capacity. A little bit down since Tuesday as I mentioned, but we really meet the community needs. We will flex open units and do what we have to," said Stafford.

Stafford adds Covenant is seeing record numbers in the ER.

"The volume has gone up tremendously. I think in one day we saw 200 people," she said.

While over at UMC the ER patient intake has nearly doubled.

"The volume is certainly up. Maybe 50 to 100 patients on a general day and on a general day we may see a 150 to 200 patients," said Piel.

And despite many getting a flu shot, Lubbockites like Monica Hernandez say when this flu hits - it hits hard.

"I have fever, congestion, my chest hurts. My body hurts real bad," Monica said.

Monica never misses a day of work - at least until today.

"Yesterday or the day before, my throat started itching, and then I woke up today and I'm very sick," she added. 

If you don't want to end up like Monica, experts recommend getting plenty of rest, wash your hands and eat well to keep your immune system strong. Those steps coupled with a little luck you may be spared from the flu.

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