Hospital ERs Nearing Capacity with Flu

Hospital ERs Nearing Capacity with Flu

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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah's hospitals and health clinics are reporting a dramatic rise in the number of patients. Two major Salt Lake City hospitals were almost at capacity last night. It's possible the flu is a part of that.

If you're feeling okay but it seems like everyone around you is sniffing, sneezing and coughing, that's not you're imagination. If you're not feeling well tonight, it's very safe to say you're not alone.

On a normal night at the LDS hospital emergency room you’ll find a steady stream of various health problems and injuries. Monday night was something different.

Todd Allen, LDS Hospital: "It was bad enough last night that both major hospitals, LDS and Univeristy of Utah were on what we call 'ambulance divert' ,where that is the emergency rooms were so crowded we had to turn away other ambulance patients."

An 'ambulance divert' is more inconvenience than anything because true emergencies always trump non-life threatening ones. Still, not accepting patients is a fairly rare situation.

Todd Allen: "I think the city is really suffering from influenza and other respiratory illnesses right now."

The State Health department will release numbers Wednesday, expected to back up observations about how bad the flu is in Utah right now.

Scott Jolley, LDS Emergency Room Doctor: "Typically after Thanksgiving when people are traveling on airplanes all over, we see a lot of that kind of thing, and kids are coming home and bringing home all kinds of viruses."

Illness is also aggravated by inversions and fluctuations in the outdoor temperature that lead some people to go without coats.

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