It’s Not Over Yet: Flu Season is Worst in Nearly a Decade, Hospitals Setting Up Tents, CDC Urges Vaccinations

February 5, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​The proportion of people seeing their doctors for influenza-like illnesses during week of January 20, 2018, was 6.6% of office visits, the highest since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to a recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC continues to recommend the flu vaccine for all people six months and older because the disease will continue to circulate for a few more weeks. Healthcare organizations can use patient reminders to increase vaccination rates. The only state not reporting widespread influenza activity is Hawaii, CDC said. The week brought another seven pediatric deaths from flu-related causes, bringing the number of flu-related pediatric deaths this season to 37. The actual number of pediatric deaths is possibly twice as high because it takes longer for deaths that occur outside of hospitals to be reported, according to a January 26, 2018, article in the Washington Post. The “crush of patients" from the flu has caused some hospitals in California to pitch tents outside their emergency department, while in Chicago ambulances are idling outside hospitals due to a shortage of beds, the Post article said.

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