SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - All hospitals in Shreveport are on diversion due to the high number of flu cases in the area, according to Bill Sharp, the head of communications at University Health.
When hospitals are on diversion, it means that its administration has informed its emergency medical services that the hospital is full. To clarify, that does not mean patients who need to go to the emergency rooms will be turned away, just that if another hospital has the resources to care for that person, they will be sent there instead.
"I've been here for about 3 hours.," said Emergency Room patient Phyllis Sparks. "They took me here and left me off right there and told me to have a seat. And I've been here waiting ever since."
According to a report released Friday, Dec. 28 from the Centers for Disease Control, Louisiana is among 46 states now reporting widespread flu cases.
"This flu season has been particularly bad. The good news is that we're having a lot of patients coming in with the flu but not a lot of the super sick patients that have to be admitted… the downside is that the patients that we are seeing we are admitting a higher percentage of them," said Dr. Angela Cornelius, an assistant professor of emergency health at University Health.
"So, therefore, we're having to divide up the ambulances that are coming in. They just kind of make a circle and they go to each hospital in turn," Cornelius said.
Shreveport's EMS officer Clarence Reese says the best thing residents can do is avoid.. avoid… avoid.. if possible.
"if you're having those flu-like symptoms and you can get a ride and it's not something that's life or death one of those things that you can do is maybe visit an urgent care center… they're capable of taking care of flu-like symptoms just like the ER is."
Reese says in a span of five hours paramedics diverted 36 patients to an alternate hospital.
Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes, the CDC says.
Even though the flu shot may only be partially effective, the CDC recommends getting it. If you do get the flu, having had the vaccine may lessen the severity of it.