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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

California hospitals pitch tents to cope with rising flu

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Several Southern California hospitals have begun using additional tents outside emergency rooms to deal with a growing number of patients with the flu and other respiratory illnesses.

The San Diego-Union Tribune reported Tents were set up Friday at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla and Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.

The move comes amid an increase in flu symptoms in San Diego County emergency room patients. About 9 percent of these patients had flu symptoms last week, up from 7 percent two weeks ago, according to a county report that also noted an increase in patients with COVID-19 symptoms, though not as fast.

Scripps hospitals and doctors’ offices have reported 1,695 positive tests for influenza since September 1, up from 471 in the same period a year ago.

Health experts said it was not immediately clear whether flu cases would peak earlier than usual in California, which normally sees the most cases from December to February, or a prolonged flu season.

“The fear is that everything is bouncing off everything else and once you get through the flu, you could still get COVID or any other virus you might get,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health. medical director of acute care operations and clinical excellence.

“I’m hopeful, but we’re still planning that it will be like this until February,” Sharieff said.

Much of the United States is seeing a fast start to flu season. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more cases of the flu are being reported than is normally expected at this time.

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