NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut hospitals are getting very busy treating adults and children with the flu.
“The rapid rise in flu hospitalizations is concerning and it was anticipated,” explained Yale Medicine Dr. Arjun Venkatesh, Chief of Emergency Medicine Administration at Yale Medicine and Associate Professor at Yale School of Medicine.
He said experts saw the huge spike in flu cases in Australia this summer, which they use as a prediction for the severity of our winter season in the United States.
The CDC has been ringing the alarm, the CDC reported 20,000 hospitalizations last week. The worst early flu season spike in a decade.
Connecticut hospitals are treating a lot of flu cases at what is weeks earlier than a regular flu season peak.
Dr. Venkatesh shared the following warning for our future,
“[The] flu won’t be just a blip. It won’t be just a couple weeks where it sort of flies through many communities that we should be prepared for several months of flu hospitalizations,” said Dr. Venkatesh.
He stressed the importance of getting the flu shot if you have not already, in order to avoid becoming hospitalized. Leaving those hospital beds for unavoidable injuries and illnesses.
Connecticut Children’s is at 80% occupancy overall, with no children waiting in the E.R. for admission, a positive sign.
“We’re seeing a huge number of influenza cases in the last three to four weeks and those numbers are still very high but certainly not putting as much burden on the hospital as RSV did,” said Doctor Ian Michelow, Connecticut Children’s Head of Pediatric Immunology and Immunology.
Connecticut Children’s Hospital has seen its first flu B strain, but Dr. Michelow said the vaccine is working on it.
Dr. Venkatesh said one issue surfacing now is a doctor shortage.
“There was always a primary care shortage across much of Connecticut even before the pandemic. The pandemic has caused a large number of resignations of not just doctors but nurses so primary care offices just don’t have as many appointments,” said Dr. Venkatesh who likes the use of telehealth that has become popular.