Phoebe: Spike in flu cases seen across Ga.

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - There is a spike in flu cases across the Peach State and Phoebe Putney Health System is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine.

“Unfortunately, Georgia is being hit harder by the flu than any other state right now. We have seen a sharp increase in confirmed and suspected cases in our part of the state, especially in the last couple of weeks, and we urge people to protect themselves by getting the flu vaccine right away,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer. “Vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of severe illness from the flu, including older folks, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions.”

Phoebe officials said because of the increase in flu patients, on Wednesday, extra resources were added to Phoebe’s primary and urgent care clinics.

Recently, 443 patients at Phoebe primary and urgent care clinics tested positive for the flu, according to the health system. Phoebe officials that is a 904% increase over the weekly number of positive flu cases from a month ago.

“Positive clinic tests have increased steadily each week since the first week of September when just six patients tested positive,” Phoebe officials said in a release. “An additional 161 patients tested positive at Phoebe’s main emergency center last week.”

Said Grant: “The number of confirmed influenza cases is concerning and indicates widespread virus transmission. Not every patient needs a flu test, however. If you have flu-like symptoms, we will generally treat you the same way, with or without a positive test. The key is to seek treatment early so you can be prescribed Tamiflu, an anti-viral medication that should lessen the severity and length of your symptoms.”

The last severe flu season in Georgia was 2017-18, according to Phoebe. During that time, cases peaked in February. This October, Phoebe officials pointed out, is already approaching that peak level from 2018.

Flu vaccines are available at Phoebe primary care clinics. Vaccines are also available at health department offices, many pharmacies and other physician practices.