NEWS HEADLINES

Flu continues to fill ER

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 10, 2018
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Flue Season

FLU SEASON – Tamiflu is popular for easing symptoms of the flu virus, which hit Wise County hard at the beginning of the year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Wise Health System continued to see a steady stream of patients suffering from influenza this week in its emergency room.

The hospital has had 795 patients in the ER since the start of the new year, with 85 diagnosed with flu.

“Our hospital, like most others, is near capacity and having to hold patients; however we will continue to accept all patients that come through our doors,” said Shannon Spann, WHS spokesperson. “As with other hospitals, it is advised that patients with flu-like symptoms make appointments with their primary care physician or utilize urgent care facilities, unless the patient has a long medical history, underlying respiratory complications or diabetes.”

Through nine days, the hospital is on pace to surpass last month’s 271 positive cases of the virus.

All Wise County schools, with the exception of Slidell, returned from winter break this week. Most reported attendance near normal.

Northwest ISD had a 96 percent attendance Tuesday, its first day back.

Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis reported normal attendance throughout the district with the exception of one elementary.

Robert Criswell, the interim superintendent at Paradise ISD, said the district has not had any reports of flu since returning from the break.

“Before our Christmas break, the elementary and intermediate campuses were reporting possibly 10 percent of their respective student bodies had reported flu or flu-like symptoms,” Criswell said. “There were only a few confirmed cases of the flu at those campuses. The high school and the junior high had only one and two cases respectively of the flu confirmed.”

Alvord ISD had one confirmed flu case, according to superintendent Randy Brown.

Slidell, which returned to class Jan. 3, has experienced a slight decrease in attendance this week. Superintendent Greg Enis said the district does not have any confirmed flu cases.

With the spike in flu cases, health officials are urging individuals to take preventative measures.

“We definitely advise our community to practice good hand-washing skills with soap and water, and if a person is sick with a flu-like illness, stay at home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities,” Spann said.

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