Flu Hospitals

By: Adam Roland
By: Adam Roland

Both Bay and Gulf Coast Medical Centers are dealing with full waiting rooms as the flu continues to affect all of Florida. Normally peak flu season hits in January, but it seems to be hitting a little later this year.

"Late last week where our ER is pretty much full 24-7 and there's no pattern to it; more busy in the daytime, it stays busy at nighttime. Unfortunately the waiting room does stay packed out and there's usually a significant amount of wait time to come back."

When ERs are that busy, ambulances often have to bypass the nearest hospital for one with available space. That hasn't been a problem in Bay County.

"We do go on diversion at one hospital or the other, which is just kind of business as usual. We transport to both facilities, we've got good communication with both facilities, so it doesn't affect EMS department that much."

Even though both hospitals are dealing with an overwhelming number of patients, it's not necessarily unusual. Bay County is growing, the community is growing and the hospitals have to deal with it.

"With new volumes coming in and condos going up and we've experienced a 30 percent increase over the last three years in admissions; with the extended growth we need more infrastructure and health care in our community."

Until then, both hospitals will have to deal with the flu season like they have in the past, and that could mean long waits.

Health experts say because the flu season got a late start, it may drag on an extra month, into April.


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