County hospitals see increase in Influenza A

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 7:34 PM EST
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - County hospitals are seeing an increase in the number of people coming down with the flu. This in addition to the people experiencing Covid and RSV.

Dr. Brian Griffin the Chief Medical Officer at Houlton Regional Hospital says, “Our numbers are, in the general sense, are growing. Initially, covid was always the big topic, but that’s third right now amongst the three major illnesses. RSV was really coming on strong not too long ago, that’s backed off a little bit, and currently flu A is has just taken off and that’s what we’re seeing very much so. That’s what we’re seeing, very much so, especially in the last week, week and a half, we’re seeing a lot of cases of influenza A in both adults and pediatrics in the hospital and in the community and I know a number of schools are feeling the effects of that, having to cancel or reschedule activities because of the number of children that are ill from that.”

Kris Doody, Cary Medical Centers CEO says, “At Cary Medical Center, we’re seeing something very similar, very similar sequence of events that Dr. Griffin described. Where as Covid was at the top of every list that we talked about, we were very concerned about kids, we are seeing a number of kids with RSV in the practices, not in the hospital, or admitted fortunately, we’ve seen a few, but not very many, but influenza has really taken off. I shared earlier, we’ve seen it even with some of our employees that have young children at home. Where the children may have brought it home from day care and unfortunately some of our employees ended up with influenza A. And they are sick and with a persistent cough. We do have a local school that just announced in the last 24 hours that it’s actually closed because of influenza. And so, yeah, it’s definitely in the community. That’s why we’ve talked many times here about the importance of distancing and washing your hands.”

Dr. Stephanie Gillis, the Director of Primary Care at Northern Maine Medical Center says, “It is now, the vast majority of our cases are Influenza A. We’re still seeing a lot of RSV in children and adults. We do have currently, two patients, two adults, in the hospital with it, influenza A and 1 adult in with RSV and both hospitalized adults are unfortunately unvaccinated. And so, again, it’s the same picture, we’ve shifted from Covid to predominately RSV and within the last week or so, especially mostly influenza a. And I can tell you, amongst our practices we have about a 33% up tick in our influenza A vaccine of all of the patients that are eligible. And that is something that we’re seeing a lot of cases. I unfortunately am not able to run the numbers to tell you of the influenza A cases are vaccinated, but anecdotally it looks like a lot of them are unvaccinated unfortunately.”

Northern Light AR Gould CEO Greg LaFrancois says, “It was kind of interesting, we saw this with Covid and it’s happened with flu and RSV, that, we see it down in Bangor and it seems like it’s about two weeks before it really hits here and that was our experience again just recently. So, I think we’ve been able to keep patients out of the hospitals more successfully than they have down south. And they’ve been through some specific tactics, you know, nebulizers, back to the home or applying them to the clinic setting. Which is the way to do it, because we really want to keep children in their homes.”