Local News

Winter Bug Hitting Triangle Medical Facilities

Posted January 10, 2003

— Some winter illnesses are stretching medical facilities to their limits.

Officials at Halifax Regional Medical Center said they have seen many people stricken by a flu-like illness. Officials said symptoms include severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting and dehydration.

Kevin Zachary, assistant vice president of nursing at Halifax Regional Medical Center, said more than half the patients coming in recently have that viral bug or an upper respiratory infection.

"Our volume has reached as high as 25 percent above our average over the last number of weeks," he said, " and that's compounded by this type of patient who takes more testing or takes more time to treat."

Officials said if the number of cases is too great or individual cases too severe, the medical center can defer patients to larger facilities in the Triangle. But the bug is also affecting them.

"They're also having an influx of patients as far away as Raleigh and then to Pitt Memorial, where we're having difficulty transferring sometimes," Zachary said.

Zachary said so far they have been able to provide care or find a higher level of care for those who need it. He said it is important, especially for older patients, to seek medical help before dehydration sets in.

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