Doctors’ offices seeing spike in flu cases locally

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jan 16, 2013 - 02:31 PM

Although the health department reported last week that there had been no statistically significant increase in flu cases in Gloucester and Mathews this season, doctors’ offices in the two counties are saying they’re seeing numerous patients with positive flu tests or flu symptoms.

Nancy Saunders, practice manager for Sentara Family Medical and Pediatrics in Gloucester, said the office has definitely seen an increase from last year, with at least one case of flu testing positive every day. Last week, the urgent care center was "slammed with flu to the point we ran out of flu tests," she said, and they’ve heard from other offices that have run out of flu shots.

"It’s gone through our employees, too," she said.

Sentara has taken the unusual step of recommending that anyone entering any health care facility wear a mask for their own safety and that of the patients.

"When one person gets it, it goes through the whole family," said Saunders.

The cases being seen haven’t been as severe as some in the past, said Saunders, perhaps because many of the people have had a flu shot, reducing the severity of the symptoms. However, Saunders said the illness seems to linger for several weeks.

Julie Garrett, office manager at Gloucester Family Practice, said there has been an increase in flu cases over the past two weeks.