POMONA (CBSLA) — The current flu epidemic is literally nothing to sneeze at.
The virulent flu has caused a spike in the number of people headed to ERs and many of these people don’t make it home.
As CBS2’s Stacey Butler reports there has been a rapid rise in the number of fatal cases attributed to this flu — 32 reported deaths in just the last week alone.
State health officials said it was the deadliest week thus far in this flu season.
Butler reported from Pomona Valley Hospital where staff were holding a flu clinic Friday evening hoping to raise awareness and discuss the importance of getting a flu va
“We don’t know how long it’s going to go on,” said Dr. Ken Moore of Pomona Valley.
There is no end in sight to the epidemic and with people lined up at the hospital there doesn’t seem to be an end to those getting sick either.
Just yesterday, the hospital turned an auditorium next to the ER into a six-bed unit to handle the overflow of patients.
“We’ve had such an overwhelming number of patients that we felt that a separate room would help us with our patient flow,” said Dr. Moore.
In just the past week, the flu death toll for those over 65 nearly doubled.
Dr. Moore said his ER is treated over 330 patients a day — many with flu symptoms. That is compared to about 280 a day more than three weeks ago.
Butler — donning a mask — was given a tour of the Emergency Department’s satellite clinic. There, patients were assessed for the severity of their flu. Some were given Tamiflu.
Dr. Moore said more young people — like 27-year-old Catharine Gallagher of Tustin — are also dying from the flu. The flu is no longer killing infants, seniors and patients with compromised immune systems. His staff is taking their symptoms more seriously than ever.
“We have to be very vigilant that we don’t miss those people and send them home with supportive care,” Dr. Moore said.