January 13, 2018
This year’s flu rate is high all across the country and Georgia is no different.
The number of kids showing up to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta doubled from December to January. And Grady Memorial Hospital has seen the number of patients with the flu or flu-like symptoms continue to rise.
“I think it’s going to get tougher over, probably the next month, month and a half, maybe two months,” said Grady’s Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Hany Atallah, who is waiting for the flu to reach its peak this season. “I think it’s going to be here with us for a little bit.”
Atallah said Grady’s emergency department is working on a plan in case “we reach a much more significant flu epidemic.”
“Our typical daily volume is usually around 405 patients. We’ve jumped about 10 percent. So we’re up around 440, 445 a day,” he said. “We’re trying to put in a place a plan where what would happen one day if 600 people came to the emergency department? Or 650? Or 700? I mean, we’ve got to be ready.”
“It’s bad,” said Audrey Kunkes, an influenza surveillance coordinator with the Georgia Department of Public Health. “We know that for the last three weeks, on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the worst, we’re at a 10.”
Last year, Kunkes said Georgia was at an eight. She explained the scale is based on how many cases of the flu or flu like symptoms are reported compared to when it’s not flu season.
Kunkes said this year’s flu vaccine hasn’t been as effective as it has in past years.