Flu levels have reached critical conditions in Tennessee, and Putnam County has felt the strain.
Infection Prevention Manager Stephanie Etter said CRMC has already seen 79 flu patients this month.
“It’s a little higher than we typically see for this time of year. These numbers are more typical of peak flu season and so it seems to be peaking earlier,” Etter said. “Time will tell if we are actually in the peak or if this is just a bigger flu season than normal.”
CRMC saw their flu season begin early in September 2019, and the number has kept increasing. Etter said November’s flu numbers was 11 and December was 170. The CRMC clinic currently sees 5-10 flu patients every day.
Etter believes a main cause for this spike is students and teachers returning to school.
However, there are some areas in the Upper Cumberland that have not been hit as hard with the flu. Livingston has received average numbers this season.
Livingston Regional Hospital Director of Marketing David Cox said the hospital hasn’t had an issue, but surrounding clinics have.
“Primary clinics in the area are seeing a lot more [flu patients],” Cox said. “And then we are also kinda in a high, well a critical, state in the state of Tennessee having more and more flues right now.”
The hospital has seen 29 cases of the flu since November 2019, an average number for them.
To reduce flu numbers, Cox suggested getting a flu shot. It’s never too late to get one, even if you’re beginning to get sick.
“I would just encourage everyone that hasn’t had a flu shot yet to get a flu shot. It’s a big part about staying healthy and keeping your family healthy,” Cox said. “[It’s about] trying to prevent as much as this virus from getting into people and being affected by it. It’s definitely going to help your chances so that you won’t have to be hospitalized if you do get the flu.”
For more information about preventing the flu, visit the CDC website.