January 16, 2013

County hit by influenza

County hit by influenza
By CHERYL ODDEN

Influenza, or flu as it is commonly called, began impacting residents of McLean County about a month ago.
Garrison
Cindy Mehlhoff, manager of Garrison Family Clinic, reported the first confirmed case Dec. 18. Though “things have leveled off a bit,” Mehlhoff said patients complaining of flu-type symptoms have continued to be seen and tested. As of Tuesday afternoon, Mehlhoff said 100 patients had been tested with 36 testing positive for influenza. Those who visit the clinic with flu-type symptoms are asked to wear masks that are available at the entrance. Flu vaccine is still available at Garrison Family Clinic and appointments are not required.
Hedi Rime, FNP-C  at Trinity Community Clinic-Garrison, reports patients with flu ranging in age from kids to senior citizens. While she didn’t share specific numbers, she said she’s been treating patients with flu for about a month. Of tests performed for influenza, Rime said the majority have come back positive. She said vaccine remains available at the clinic.
To prevent the spread of flu at Garrison Memorial Hospital, visitors have not been allowed since Dec. 28. Beth Hetletved, director of nursing, said, “We want to protect as many people as possible.” Due to confidentiality regulations, Hetletved said she was unable to provide patient numbers. She said that the hospital experienced an upswing in incidence of influenza this past week and that the incidence continues to climb. Also of concern, Hetletved added, “Healthy workers are in short supply.”


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