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'Bad Flu Season' Hits Providence Centralia Hospital
The Chronicle - 12/6/2022
Dec. 5—Between cases of the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Providence Centralia Hospital's clinical leads are comparing this year to a "bad flu season."
"Providence Swedish Centralia Hospital — like most hospitals on the I-5 corridor — is very full. COVID-19, and now the flu season and RSV has exacerbated that," said Providence spokesperson Chris Thomas in an email to The Chronicle on Friday. "We haven't had a large influx of any of the three particularly as of late, but in combination they are contributing to longer wait times in the (emergency department) and a full hospital."
As of Nov. 26, cases of RSV and the flu were already approaching the number of estimated cases for the entire 2021-22 winter respiratory illness peak season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC estimates the flu caused at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and at least 4,500 deaths nationwide between Oct. 1 and Nov. 26. The CDC estimated a total 9 million cases of the flu and 5,000 deaths from the flu for the 2021-22 season.
Seattle Children's Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jeff Sperring and U.S. Rep Kim Schrier called on President Joe Biden in a Seattle Times opinion column to declare a state of emergency over the ongoing outbreak of RSV.
Cases of RSV had already greatly surpassed numbers reported in the previous five years by the end of November, according to the CDC.
"For older children and adults, RSV presents as the common cold. But many babies with RSV struggle to breathe and must be hospitalized. It is scary in the best of circumstances, but even more frightening when hospitals are full," wrote Sperring and Schrier.
Like most hospitals and health systems around the country, Providence Swedish in the South Puget Sound is experiencing staffing shortages but is doing its best to fill open positions as quickly as possible and contract staffing agencies for supplemental staffing as needed, said Thomas.
"We are committed to our mission, caring for our caregivers, and ensuring we have enough staff to continue to provide the services our communities need and have come to expect," said Thomas.
Providence Centralia Hospital encourages the community to keep an eye on its Facebook page for updates on where to go for care and how to best protect yourself from RSV, the flu and COVID-19.
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