University of Iowa Hospitals sees early increase in flu cases
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The University of Iowa Health Care System held a press conference Monday afternoon surrounding an increase in flu cases across the state.
Two weeks ago, UIHC reported one flu case in its network of clinics. However, this week it reported 150 new cases.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Brennan explained why this uptick concerns her.
“This is early, in general, we wouldn’t see these numbers until into December,” Brennan said. “When we see early spread we worry it’s going to be higher spread.”
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, this year’s dominant flu strain is N3H2. Brennan said UIHC has seen a majority of these cases among college-aged students so far.
With COVID-19 still a concern for hospitals, Brennan said she’s worried about what a severe flu season could do to an already overwhelmed healthcare industry.
“Once it starts to spread it can be a really big deal for our workforce and our community in general,” Brennan said.” “It takes out of place some of our nurses, our doctors, our therapists, our technicians. It can really hamper our ability to take care of our patients.”
Heading into the holiday season, Brennan stressed the importance of seeing a doctor when someone feels sick, especially since flu symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19.
Knowing what a patient might be sick with can determine how long they have to isolate or what treatment they can receive.
“There are treatments available for influenza, you can argue how effective they are, but they are utilized,” Brennan said. “With these new oral medicines coming out for COVID it’s important that we know who’s got what.”
Much like with COVID-19, Brennan advised everyone to get this year’s flu shot, if they can, and to stay at home if they feel sick.
According to IDPH’s website, 24% of Iowans have received the flu shot this season.
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