Blount Memorial Hospital is experiencing a higher patient volume than usual due to the flu.
“Around the middle of last week, we began seeing an influx of influenza patients through the emergency department,” said Blount Memorial senior infection control coordinator Ann Henry. “We did admit several patients with flu symptoms late last week, but most patients are being treated at the hospital and sent home to continue getting well,” she added.
The flu also has had an impact on the Blount Memorial Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village where visitation now is being discouraged.
“We have some positive cases of the flu at the Transitional Care Center, as well as some patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms,” said Blount Memorial associate nurse executive Brenda Rhyne.
Currently, the Transitional Care Center staff have isolated positive influenza patients and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms to one specific floor where they are being treated by select staff members. Those staff members treating flu patients are not currently treating non-flu patients to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Our staff members are wearing masks and taking the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the flu,” Rhyne said. “We also are asking that people avoid visiting the Transitional Care Center unless absolutely necessary. Visitors who do arrive also are being given masks to wear,” she explained.
“With the flu now becoming more prevalent in Blount County, we want to assure people who are experiencing the flu or flu-like symptoms that Blount Memorial Hospital and its physician groups have the resources necessary to handle the situation,” said Blount Memorial chief medical officer Dr. Harold Naramore. “We want everyone to know that we are here to help you get the treatment you need,” he added.
“If you are experiencing flu symptoms such as fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches, seek treatment quickly,” Rhyne said. “We also encourage hand-washing, use of hand sanitizers and, of course, getting a flu shot if you haven’t already,” she added.
The CareToday Clinic at East Tennessee Medical Group is continuing to offer flu shots, and no appointments are necessary. The clinic is located at 266 Joule St. in Alcoa. Hours are 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Most insurances are accepted. The CareToday clinic also will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.