Kansas Hospital See Flu Surge

From HutchNews:

Hospitals in Newton and Liberal imposed restrictions against children visiting this week because of the rising number of suspected H1N1 flu cases showing up in their emergency rooms.

Though it has implemented no restrictions on visitation, Dodge City’s hospital has also seen a significant influx of flu cases, officials there confirmed.

“Our emergency room is getting slammed,” said Barrick Wilson, Newton Medical Center’s director of marketing and community relations.

The hospital has seen roughly 275 cases of suspected flu in the past month, Wilson said, with a heavy influx particularly in the past few days. About 25 percent of flu-like cases in the emergency room have tested positive for Influenza A, which officials assume to be H1N1.

“We are seeing entire families over the past 24 hours that are testing positive for Influenza A,” said Jo Miller, R.N., NMC’s emergency department nurse manager.

Because of the large volume of patients in the emergency department, as well as a sharp increase in H1N1 activity in Harvey County, the hospital’s emergency department went to “Yellow Status,” according to Miller.

“This means that we are stressed as a department, as I am sure are some of the ancillary services such as laboratory,” Miller said. “NMC nursing units may see additional admissions coming from the ED over the next few hours, and we are ramping up for accelerated activity.”

The medical center has admitted only two people with the suspected H1N1 virus, so inpatient staffing levels are normal, Barrick said. It has expanded staffing in the emergency room, however.

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