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Flu causing overflow at Thompson Hospital

(WHAM photo)

Canandaigua, N.Y. – Flu cases in Ontario County are three times higher this year compared to January of 2017, according to the Ontario County Health Department.

UR Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua tells 13WHAM they have seen a surge in patients in the last month.

“We are seeing a flu surge, and a surge in general in other illnesses as well,” said Kurt Koczent, Chief Operating Officer at Thompson Health. “Staff have really risen to the occasion and taking care of all the patients that come here.”

The hospital has moved around nursing staff to help with the increase in patients.

“We've had nurses working overtime to help with the demand, and nurses in non-traditional roles stepping away from their quality roles, if you will, and going to the bedside to help,” said Koczent. "[Patients are] overflowing into our ED and taking people into our new observation unit, and staff has been able to move into that area to help patients there."

According to Koczent, the hospital occupancy rate has gotten as high as 125 percent, because of the increase of patients admitted with the flu.

“When we're looking at hospital volume, this is the largest hospital volume we've seen over the last five years,” said Koczent, “so it's a very significant impact, not just with flu, but with other illnesses as well.”

The hospital is taking a number of steps to keep the flu from spreading, including isolating those who test positive for the flu, restricting children from visiting patients. It is also asking anyone with flu like symptoms to not visit loved ones.

These rules in place as the virus has yet to peak.

“Most recent reports that we're still in an upward trend," said Koczent. "Could this week be the peak? Not sure, but the last report from the state says positive results are still going up.”

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