Amid Rising Number Of Flu Patients, California Hospitals Are Using Overflow Tents

In order to accommodate the increasing number of patients suffering from the flu and other respiratory infections, several hospitals in Southern California have started installing overflow tents outside their emergency rooms.

In response to a rise in respiratory illnesses, the San Diego-Union Tribune reported on Friday that overflow tents had been erected at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, and the Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.

Since September 1, 1,695 positive flu tests have been reported by Scripps hospitals and medical offices, up from 471 over the same period last year.

The decision was made in response to an increase in flu symptoms among San Diego County emergency room patients. An increase from 7 percent two weeks prior to last week to about 9 percent of these patients experienced flu-like symptoms.

According to the county’s weekly respiratory disease report, The San Diego-Union Tribune also noted an uptick in patients with COVID-19 symptoms, though not as swiftly.

Hospitals and medical centers are concerned about an early, unexpected RSV outbreak among children.

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Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, chief medical officer of acute care operations and clinical excellence at Scripps Health, stated that the concern is that everything is sort of bouncing off of everything else and that even after getting the flu, one may still contract COVID or another virus.

Sharieff expressed optimism, but said, “We’re still kind of planning that it’s going to continue this way through February.”

On Wednesday, September 30, 2020, a pharmacist gives a customer a free flu shot at a CVS Health Corp. pharmacy in Miami, Florida, in the United States. This month, CVS Health Corp. stated that it anticipated immunizing up to 18 million people.

The flu typically strikes worst from late December to February.

A flu season that started earlier than usual also affected the Southern Hemisphere. Chile’s influenza-positive rates reached epidemic levels several months earlier than typical, in January.

Health professionals said it was unclear at this time if California would experience an earlier-than-usual peak in flu cases, which generally peak in December through February, or a longer flu season.

In the course of a flu shot clinic at the Dorchester House clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, nurses prepare injections of the influenza vaccine.
In the course of a flu shot clinic at the Dorchester House clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, nurses prepare injections of the influenza vaccine. Brien Snyder of Reuters

The flu season has gotten off to a quick start in much of the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month that more flu cases are being recorded than is generally anticipated at this time of year.

According to a CDC report released on Friday, New York City, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. all have very high rates of the flu and other comparable viral infections.

“Seasonal influenza activity has already increased, but it is still increasing. The country’s southeastern and south-central regions, followed by the Mid-Atlantic and the south-central West Coast, are reporting the highest levels of activity “CDC stated.

The majority of them are influenza A infections, specifically the H3N2 strain. Although any variant of the flu can be harmful in people with weakened immune systems, this particular strain has been linked to more serious illnesses.

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