Lindsay hospital over capacity as flu cases surge

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KAWARTHA LAKES-Ross Memorial Hospital is operating over 100% capacity as illnesses such as Influenza A, Influenza B and Norovirus put a strain on the Emergency Department. “Ross Memorial Hospital continues to see a high number of patients coming though the Emergency Department. Volumes peaked on December 26th, when 137 people were seen in the Emergency Department.” says Kim Coulter, Coordinator of Employee & Community Relations.

Coulter says many of these patients need to be admitted to the hospital. On December 27th there were 22 admitted patients in the Emergency Department waiting for a bed to become available on an inpatient unit. Coulter told Kawartha 411,”To help manage these high patient volumes, Ross Memorial opened 12 surge beds with funding assistance from the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care. The Hospital is currently operating over 100% capacity.”

And its only going to get worse as officials say it would appear that we are in the beginning stage of the flu surge. YOu can see this in the community where the majority of Long Term Care facilities are experiencing outbreaks as we reported on Monday.

Since December 6th, the Hospital has admitted 56 patients with Influenza-like Illness (ILI) related to community-acquired pneumonia and acute exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Three patients tested positive for Influenza A and two with Influenza B. Note: Only admitted patients are lab tested for Influenza. Those who visit the Emergency Department and are discharged home are not included.

Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by a virus. Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, weakness, body aches and headache. Influenza can lead to pneumonia.

The hospital says most people with the flu are strongly encouraged to avoid the Emergency Department to prevent spreading the flu to others, but it can be difficult to know when and where to seek medical help so we’ve compiled these tips for you:

When to seek medical help

If you do not start to feel better after a few days or if your symptoms get worse, you should:

  •   Call your health care provider
  •   Call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 (toll free) TTY: 1-866-797-0007
  •   Visit one of the local After Hours Clinics
  • When to come to the hospital
  • Adults should come to the Emergency Department if they have flu symptoms and have difficulty breathing, can’t tolerate fluids or are concerned.Children should be brought to the Emergency Department if their symptoms improve and then suddenly become worse. In addition, seek care if you notice any of the following signs:
  •   fast or difficult breathing
  •   bluish or dark-coloured lips or skin
  •   drowsiness to the point where he or she cannot be easily wakened
  •   severe crankiness or not wanting to be held or
  •   dehydration – not drinking enough fluids and not passing urine regularly.Protect yourself and others against InfluenzaIf you haven’t been vaccinated, please consider getting the flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones. Contact your healthcare provider or participating pharmacist.To help protect patients and the RMH team against the flu, RMH has a policy that strongly encourages all staff, physicians, volunteers and students who are not vaccinated against the flu to wear a surgical mask while in patient care areas.

To help people know when to stay home and when to seek help, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care developed an online self-screening tool at ontario.ca/flu. The website also offers tips for managing flu symptoms at home, which include drinking lots of fluids and taking basic pain or fever symptom relievers.

 

photo credit: juhansonin Viggo was a champ via photopin (license)