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Area hospitals tracking H1N1 patients

Posted October 28, 2009

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— President Barack Obama has declared the H1N1 virus outbreak a national emergency, giving hospitals the power to move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

The declaration, signed Friday evening, comes with the virus more prevalent than ever and production delays interrupting vaccine distribution.

As a result of H1N1 spread, Raleigh's WakeMed and other area hospitals are tracking the number of potentially sick patients.

WakeMed officials said nearly 11 percent of people showing up in the emergency room lately have displayed signs of the virus.

Officials said the patient load is manageable, however.

"If we need to set up treatment sites, other than at the hospital, we would notify our local licensing agency and then they would work with the center for Medicare or Medicaid, and they would help us get permission to be able set up health care sites at other places,” said Dr. Barb Bisset, director of WakeMed Emergency Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those at highest risk of contracting H1N1 flu are pregnant women, individuals ages 6 months to 24 years, people 25 to 64 with underlying health issues, health care and emergency workers and anyone caring for children younger than 6 months old. They are urging those people to get vaccinated.

A shipment of 200 injectable H1N1 vaccines arrived at the Durham County Health Department Wednesday. High-risk people can get the vaccine Friday at the 414 East Main St. location.

Shots will be given from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., or until the vaccine runs out. For more information on Friday’s clinic, call the H1N1 Vaccine Information Line at 919-560-7882.


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  • Orange RN Oct 29, 2009

    General healthcare visits for flu like symptoms are what is tracked nationally now at some doctor’s offices and in ERs. The 11% of Wake Med ER visits does refer to that measure. WakeMed is using that to determine when they need to move H1N1 triage off site, which they can now consider due to the National Emergency Declaration.

    WakeMed does also test for H1N1 among patients with serious illness (hospitalized patients). WakeMed does not do the confirmation testing in hospital, but they can screen for influenza A. Remember that >90% of influenza A is H1N1 now in NC. Confirmatory testing for H1N1 is done at the state.

    CDC testing guidance is here: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/diagnostic_tests.htm

  • mama2max Oct 29, 2009

    this article is VERY misleading. WakeMed (nor any other area hospital does NOT test for h1n1 so how in the world would they be tracking h1n1? the only labs that test for h1n1 are state labs and they are only testing patients that are admitted to the h1n1. what this story should indicate is that they are tracking "flu-like symptoms" and nobody knows whether the flu-like symptoms are caused by true h1n1, or another type A flu. prime example of how big pharma and the CDC and the FDA are fueling "swine flu" hysteria. ridiculous.

  • sixnitepkg Oct 29, 2009

    a little behind the eight-ball aren't they? they should have been doing this 2-3 months ago when about 75-80% of our patients were "swine flu"!!

  • MissyT Oct 29, 2009

    Its my understanding that only the hospitals will conduct H1N1 blood tests in our area. Some docs do a quick flu test, but it only shows flu, not the very specific flu type.

    My pediatrician did not test my kids when it was very clear they had the swine flu. He said the quick test has a very high % of false negatives.

    So my understanding is that only the patients with confirmed h1n1 (tested via blood test at the hospital) are being tracked.

    Our community has a much higher rate of infection than that %!

    Approximately 1/2 of my children's elementary school classes were out in early October with flu-like symptoms. A couple of children were admitted to the hospital for viral pneumonia.

    The school system and county health system is doing very little to keep the public aware of the situation.

  • Baba Booey Oct 29, 2009

    I took my son to Wake Med Urgent Care last week with flu symptoms and was told they are not testing for H1N1, and just classified his illness as the Flu.

    He was never tested for H1N1.

    So this story contradicts what WakeMed is actually doing.