Kelowna General Hospital under siege from influenza | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna General Hospital under siege from influenza

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KELOWNA - The flu season is taking its toll on Kelowna General Hospital, not only through increased admissions and longer wait times but with more staff that are calling in sick.

“While we are seeing an increased number of patients at Kelowna General Hospital, this is not unusual for this time of year,” KGH health service administrator Andrew Hughes said in an email statement. “We generally see increased patient volumes throughout our hospitals during the winter period, and given this expected increase, have prepared accordingly."

"Currently, we do have a number of staff that are off sick. Again, this is not unusual for this time of the year and we keep this in mind when planning for winter staffing,” Hughes said. "Everyone who seeks care from Kelowna General Hospital is receiving the medical care they require despite this increase in patient volume.”

Hughes acknowledged the longer wait times people are reporting at the hospital’s emergency room.

"We recognize that this can result in some longer wait times for people,” he said. "We ask for the public’s patience as our staff and physicians work hard to provide quality care to all patients.”

Hughes said the health authority has moved to support increased demand at KGH and other hospitals in Vernon, Penticton and Kamloops by increasing staff, creating acute care bed space by increasing access to residential and convalscent beds and adding additional home support hours.

Even with the flu season nearing its peak, Hughes said people should continue to take precautions.

“We’d like to remind the public that the best way to prevent the spread of illness is to get immunized, wash your hands, cover your cough or sneeze, and stay home when you are sick,” Hughes said.”

The health authority ordered 240,000 doses of vaccine for the 2017-2018 flu season but said last week it would be several weeks still until the B.C. Centre for Disease Control announces whether they are a good match for the predominant influenza strain.

The health authority says this year’s vaccine offers protection from three viruses including A/Michigan/45, A/Hong Kong/4801 and B/Brisbane/60.

Find out about a flu clinic near you.

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