Ballad reports more flu cases, urges caution amid 'uncommonly harsh' flu season

Johnson City Press • Feb 3, 2020 at 4:11 PM

In a media release Monday, Ballad Health reported a 25.6% increase in the number of flu cases at its hospitals over the last week.

Though levels of the flu are still down from their peak in late December, Ballad is urging caution and the implementation of preventative measures for communities. The release also said both the A and B strain of the flu have seen an increase.

“While we’ve had a mild winter in terms of weather, it’s been an uncommonly harsh flu season,” Jamie Swift, Ballad Health’s corporate director of infection prevention said in the release. “While our rates appeared to be at their highest during the week of Christmas, the disease is still circulating rapidly in our area, with numbers steadily increasing during the last three weeks.”

Since September, Ballad has seen more than 2,300 patients for the flu or flu-related complications. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there have been more than 19 million cases of the flu, leading to 10,000 deaths.

Other transmissible illnesses have seen an increase as of late as well. As a result, Ballad is continuing to enforce visitation restrictions at “all of its facilities.”

In the release, Swift also urged those who haven’t yet received a flu shot to do so as soon as possible, and also emphasized covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing.

“It is never too late to get a flu shot,” Swift said. “We expect flu to spread for several more weeks, and a flu vaccine is one of the best measures you can take to protect yourself.”

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