Norton Healthcare says positive flu tests 4 times higher than normal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As predicted, the Thanksgiving weekend resulted in a lot of people catching the flu.
“In previous years, we look back five to seven years and sort of see how many tests do we see positive at this time of year on an annual basis,” Norton Healthcare Chief Clinical and Strategy Officer Dr. Steven Hester said. “And we are seeing about four times more than we normally would. So it’s pretty significant in terms of the number of tests.”
Increased cases result in waiting rooms getting crowded and emergency room waits becoming longer.
“Part of the challenge with that comes as you have an increased number of patients, you extend waits,” Norton Healthcare Chief Clinical and Strategy Officer Dr. Steven Hester said. “And we want to make sure that access is easy and as quick as it can be.”
Norton Healthcare is hoping to prevent those long waits by educating the public on when to seek emergency care.
According to Norton Healthcare, a list of symptoms worthy of a trip to the emergency room includes:
- Chest pain
- Stroke symptoms
- Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
- Major injury or head trauma
- Severe shortness of breath or asthma attack
- Severe burn or wound
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Vomiting blood
Less severe symptoms could instead warrant a visit to a primary care physician or immediate care.
UofL Health also reports a rise in flu numbers the week after Thanksgiving with more than 900 new cases. It is unclear how these numbers might predict a looming COVID spike, which takes longer for symptoms to develop.
“I can’t really put my finger on how big a spike that’s going to be,” UofL Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Burns said. “But I feel very confident that there will be a spike for sure.”
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