HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Right now, doctors and scientists are getting together to try and figure out what strains to put in the next round of the flu vaccine.
It won’t be here in time for this year’s season, and hospitals are ramping up and taking extra precautions against flu transmission.
Dr. Jack Ross is the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Hartford Hospital. He says about 15 new people are hospitalized every day at Hartford Hospital for the flu.
“Today we had 26 people in house as of noon time. Last Friday, we had 20,” Dr. Ross said.
At the peak, 42 people had been admitted with serious or critical symptoms.Related Content: CT schools taking steps to limit the spread of the potentially deadly flu virus
“We are going to see this type of volume for the next two to four weeks,” he explained.
Dr. Ross said that before you’re even admitted to the emergency room or see a doctor, the first thing that happens as you walk through the hospital doors is you’re asked a series of questions to determine your infection level.
“So, what we generally do right at triage, right at the entry points to our clinics or emergency department, if somebody is coughing and has flu symptoms, we are going to put a mask on them and separate them from somebody else. They will then put them in a room,” Dr. Ross stated.
Since the flu is contagious through tiny water droplets, hospital officials ask patients and healthcare workers treating them to wear a mask.Related Content: Schools in 6 states close due to flu
Dr. Ross said they are also thinking about extreme precautions that have only been enacted twice in the last 15 years: Not allowing visitors inside the hospital.
“It is generally something we prefer to do right up front, to just put the signs up and to get people to stop if they’ve been sick,” he explained.
Dr. Ross say the flu virus can live outside the body for up to 12 hours.