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Flu outbreak fills Alabama's hospitals, emergency rooms

A severe flu outbreak is filling Alabama hospitals and emergency rooms, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 10:07 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A severe flu outbreak is filling Alabama hospitals and emergency rooms, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.

"We have a crisis situation going on with numbers of patients infected by influenza in Alabama," Acting State Health Officer Scott Harris said in a Friday press conference. "We are seeing very large numbers, and that's particularly been true for the last two to three weeks."

Harris said hospitals in nearly half of Alabama counties are at 90 percent of their patient capacity. Some are full or overcapacity.

"They have more patients who are admitted to those hospitals than they have beds in those hospitals. They have patients who are waiting for rooms," Harris said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that flu is now widespread in every state except Hawaii. Alabama is one of 26 states reporting high levels of influenza-like Illness.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday issued a state of emergency, giving hospitals some leeway in following their care plans as they deal with the large influx of patients. For example, Harris said a hospital might opt for oral hydration instead of intravenous fluids.

To ease the burden on crowded emergency rooms, health officials urged people without severe symptoms to try other avenues to get care, such as primary care doctors, urgent care facilities or even calling their doctor's office to see if they can be triaged by phone.

Jeff Rains, CEO of Baptist Medical Center East in Montgomery said some hospitals across the state are altering visiting policies to try to slow the spread of the illness, and protect medically vulnerable patients.

A large private school in metro Birmingham, Briarwood Christian, canceled classes on Friday because of a large number of sick students and employees.

"Just remember, the best way to prevent influenza is to get a vaccine. Be sure to wash your hands, particularly if you are sick yourself," Harris said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds282449
DeSoto186519
Madison141936
Jones118549
Harrison109615
Rankin106315
Neshoba103976
Forrest97243
Lauderdale95481
Scott80915
Jackson74418
Washington70010
Copiah64215
Leake62120
Lee60022
Oktibbeha58928
Holmes57941
Warren57720
Grenada5698
Wayne56018
Yazoo5486
Lowndes53613
Leflore52856
Lamar5227
Lincoln51935
Pike48820
Sunflower4708
Lafayette4644
Monroe43935
Panola4326
Covington4295
Bolivar39418
Simpson3843
Attala38324
Newton36710
Adams34719
Pontotoc3396
Tate33313
Marion32412
Claiborne30011
Winston29611
Chickasaw29319
Pearl River28132
Noxubee2778
Marshall2763
Jasper2716
Clay25611
Walthall2497
Union24611
Smith23712
Coahoma2196
Clarke21725
Lawrence2022
Yalobusha2028
Kemper18314
Tallahatchie1784
Carroll17411
Humphreys16110
Calhoun1605
Montgomery1513
Itawamba1458
Tippah14411
Hancock14113
Webster13411
Jefferson1223
Tunica1213
Jefferson Davis1184
Prentiss1173
George1123
Greene11210
Amite1083
Quitman971
Tishomingo971
Wilkinson969
Alcorn942
Perry794
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin542
Sharkey470
Benton440
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
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