NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With the flu season hitting hard much earlier in the season than normal, hospitals are now starting to see more patients requiring hospitalizations.
Yale New Haven Hospital has also been very busy.
“Most of the week we have seen capacity numbers between 97-98% overall,” Dana Marnane, Director, Public Relations and Communications for Yale New Haven Health told News 8. She explained how Greenwich Hospital handled the overflow.
“Hospitals do have the ability to flex up and did so during the first covid surge,” Marnane said.
Middlesex Health reports admitting 15-20 patients a day with flu.
“We are very busy at the hospital for a variety of reasons and are at or near capacity, depending on the day,” Middlesex Health Public Relations Director Amanda Falcone told News 8.
“We are adequately able to handle flu capacity. I don’t have exact numbers though and the hospitals do have a lot of patients. Because we are in a good place we aren’t looking to flex just yet but we have plans if we need to,” said Hartford Healthcare‘s Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Ulysses Wu.
Connecticut has also been designated by the CDC as purple, the highest of the very high category. Earlier this week it was dark red.
Yale Medicine Dr. Albert Shaw explained the timing.
“In general, flu activity is still quite high in the state. I think our levels of emergency room visits for influenza-like illness more resemble what we’d see in kind of a midwinter flu season rather than the beginning of the winter.”
Dr. Shaw urges people to get the flu shot and the covid updated booster shot to protect themselves and others, in order to keep those hospital inpatient numbers down.
Also to remember what worked for two years.
“I know people don’t want to hear it, but wearing a mask, particularly if you’re in a crowded indoor setting, going shopping, going to the store, it will definitely help protect against these viruses, even if people around you aren’t wearing masks,” Dr. Shaw said.
He weighed in on possibly seeing home flu tests available in the future, like covid home tests.
“If we’re going to have more influenza active seasons like this one, particularly with things like shortages of antiviral medications like Tamiflu, it really makes getting home flu tests potentially more important,” Dr. Shaw said.