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Flu has become widespread across North Carolina, and health officials say they’re seeing a rise flu cases in Wilson County as well.
State officials confirmed six more deaths associated with flu during the week of Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, bringing this year’s total to 35. There have been no flu deaths in Wilson County during this season, according to hospital officials.
“Flu has definitely picked up over the last few weeks,” said Sydney Wilkinson, Wilson Medical Center’s infection prevention coordinator, who added that North Carolina appears to be trending with the 2016-17 season.
“At the beginning of the flu season, Wilson was primarily seeing flu Type B in the majority of the patients. However, over the last month or so, we are seeing patients positive for flu Type A,” Wilkinson said.
Out of the 164 emergency room patients tested, 37 of them were positive for flu during the week of Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, hospital officials said. Of those 37, 35 were positive for flu Type A and two were positive for flu Type B.
Wilkinson said the vast majority of patients tested were not admitted to the hospital. But staffers are seeing flu affect a lot of children and younger adults. She said few adults over age 60 who visited the emergency room have tested positive for the flu.
Wilkinson said the hospital continued to see an increase in emergency department visits last week, with a lot of patients presenting with flu-like symptoms.
“While our numbers only reflect the volume of the population seen through our ED and health care facility, it is reported that flu has become widespread throughout North Carolina, with the state following our trend as well with the majority of patients being positive for Flu A,” she said.
VISITOR RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
Visitor restrictions are still in place at the hospital, which means no one under 12 should visit patient care areas. No individuals exhibiting flu-like symptoms are permitted to visit any patient care areas unless seeking medical treatment, officials said. Restriction signs are displayed at the hospital’s main entryways. There are hygiene stations set up that contain masks, tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers for anyone visiting the hospital.
Visitors who must enter the facility for medical treatment should wear a mask to prevent the spread of illness to others, officials said.
“It is important to also comply with proper respiratory hygiene, including the person covering their mouth with their elbow or a tissue whenever they sneeze or cough and wash their hands,” Wilkinson said.
In 2017-18, flu season peaked in North Carolina during mid-February, while the 2016-17 season peaked in late February, officials said.
For those who have the flu, it’s vital for adults and children to stay home from work and school to prevent the virus from spreading. Health officials recommend folks stay home at least 24 hours once they are fever-free without the assistance of medicines such as Tylenol and Advil.