By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, December 9, 2012
With the flu season fully under way, there were nearly as many confirmed reports of the disease at one Pitt County health facility in one day this week as all of last year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza can peak any time between October and May, but this season, Vidant Medical Center is seeing an early start to the flu season.
The hospital had its first positive flu case of the season on Nov. 1, according to Bill Cleve, Vidant public health epidemiologist. Since then, the number of cases has steadily increased the past four weeks.
State health officials reported the state’s first two deaths of the 2012-13 flu season. Both victims were adults from the Triad region. According to State Health Director Laura Gerald, one of the individuals was at higher risk for complications from flu because of advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions, but the other had no known risk factors for severe influenza illness. Neither had received the flu vaccine.
And like South Carolina (posted below), they are having restrictions at the hospital:
The sharp increase in influenza cases in the Triad, including two deaths in Forsyth County, has led one hospital to begin visitor restrictions for the second time in four flu seasons.
High Point Regional Health System started Thursday not allowing visitors younger than 18 to enter patient rooms, lobbies and waiting areas.
“This decision is based on recommendations from the health system’s infection control committee to combat the spread of influenza among patients,” said Dr. Dale Williams, chief medical officer at High Point Regional.
The state agency’s flu website – www.flu.nc.gov – lists a third death in the state. It reports 113 confirmed cases through the first eight weeks of the flu season, or as of Dec. 1, all but four being the A (H3) subtype.
Some 23 cases have been reported in the Triad and Northwest N.C.: nine in Guilford, five in Forsyth, four in Watauga, and one each in Alamance, Davidson, Randolph, Rockingham and Stokes.
Here is the Chart mentioned above at www.flu.nc.gov that lists 3 deaths: