Flu cases cause long lines, waits at local hospitals

Some hospital patients have been waiting over six hours to be seen…all because there have been so many treated for the flu in recent weeks.

Many patients are even being treated in hallways for lack of hospital beds and space.

Pictures taken by a patient inside Gulf Coast Hospital show the demand for beds during this spike in flu season.

“There’s a lot of people there with masks. As soon as you walk in everybody in the waiting room is covered in masks or has got their shirts over their mouth,” said one patient.

Doctors say there are more than three times the normal amount of flu cases this year. And Lee Health says—like the traffic on the roads—emergency rooms are getting busier as tourists and snowbirds arrive.

Several people explained how they waited as least six hours to be seen—and beds lined the hallways because the rooms are already full.

Lee Health issued a statement saying in part…every patient who arrives in our emergency department is promptly triaged and treated as quickly as possible with those with the most urgent, life threatening cases being seen first.

They also said they encourage people to go to a walk-in clinic or primary care doctor if they’re not experiencing an emergency.

You will be asked to wear a mask if you come to the hospital with flu symptoms. They’re also asking visitors 12 and younger to stay home. Kids may still come to the hospital as patients, but they are safer at home if they are not sick already.

The best way to avoid the flu is to wash your hands and avoid touching your nose and mouth.

Reporter:Kim Powell
Writer:Erica Brown
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