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WNY hospitals hit hard with flu

Oishei: "The ER is very busy"
Posted at 12:42 AM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 00:42:46-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Flu season continues to hit hard across the United states. Western New York hospitals are seeing an increase in flu cases.

"We do have many confirmed cases of influenza," Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein said. She continued, "People have become very ill with influenza I know we've seen deaths in our community and unfortunately even a pediatric death."

The New York State Health Department reports there are more than 600 confirmed flu cases in Erie County, about 1,800 across Western New York and 15,000 across the state for the week ending in 1/25/20.

The continued increase in flu cases is impacting ERs in the area. A spokesperson for ECMC tells 7 Eyewitness News there's "definitely (an) increased" amount of flu patients in their emergency department. Oishei Children's Hospital is also seeing a surge.

"The ER is very busy," Oishei's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen Turkovich said. He said the hospital is at capacity, hit hard by this "severe" respiratory season. The emergency department has seen more than 1,000 positive flu cases and flu season may not have even hit peak yet.

"Earlier in the year, the ER was really full of young children with RSV. We still see that, but now we're seeing much more flu," Turkovich said. Oishei is seeing the majority of respiratory admissions to be RSV-related. Those cases are up from last year, same with the flu.

"We had about 8 kids admitted with the flu last season at this time and we've admitted over 50 so far this year. The ICU had one kid admitted at this time for the entire season for the flu, we've had 16 so far," Turkovich said.

Even if you have had the flu this season, there is a chance you can get it again with a different strain.

"Wash your hands, get the flu shot and make sure that if your child is sick, keep them home. If you have a young baby don't bring them out in public and expose them to any of the viruses that are around," says Turkovich.