A Dallas hospital began diverting patients to other sites as the state continues to suffer a rapidly rising number of flu cases. Texas led the nation for the third week in a row in the number of flu cases reported.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center announced Monday it could no longer accept flu patients suffering “non-emergency flu symptoms.” The hospital is re-routing these patients to urgent care facilities or other hospitals, NBCDFW reported. The hospital is still accepting patients who require emergency treatment.
The hospital issued the following statement:
Consistent with federal and state laws, Methodist Dallas Medical Center is currently re-routing non-emergency patients due to high volumes of patients with flu-like symptoms. This measure is so we can still take care of emergency patients such as trauma, stroke, and those transferred by ambulance. We take this very seriously because we want to be able to treat anyone in need anytime.
During the period while Methodist Dallas is re-routing patients, we encourage anyone having non-emergent symptoms to seek care at an urgent care facility or through their primary care physician.
The announcement comes as Texas continues to lead the nation in reported flu cases, according to a Walgreens Flu Index report covering the last week of 2017. Eight of the top ten cities with flu activity are located in Texas, the report states.
Top 10 DMAs* with Flu Activity
|Week Ending 12/30/17|
|1.||Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas|
|5.||Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas|
|6.||Corpus Christi, Texas|
|7.||El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.)|
|8.||San Antonio, Texas|
|9.||Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas|
|10.||Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark|
The top ten states for flu activity for the week ending on December 30 include Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Tennessee, Arizona, Missouri, and North Carolina. Iowa lead the list of the states where flu activity is growing the fastest. The states in this category include Iowa, Arizona, Connecticut, California, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, and Alabama, Walgreens reports.
Walgreens compiles the data from weekly retail prescription data for medications used to treat influenza. The data comes from Walgreens and Duane Reade store locations across the country.
Texas health officials urge the public to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of the illness. Washing hands frequently with soap or sanitizer, along with covering coughs and sneezes is said to be the best way to help slow the spreading of the flu, Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) officials state. The agency’s website lists locations where people can find flu vaccinations.
THHS reports the statewide activity of influenza cases is “widespread.” Officials stated the activity of the illness is increasing across the state.
The Texas Department of Health Services states that flu symptoms can come on suddenly.