Patients suffering from flulike symptoms have not overtaxed resources at Corry Memorial Hospital.
In fact, patient admissions to the critical-access facility have not increased dramatically, despite the wave of suspected swine flu that has swept through the region, said Terri DeLellis, R.N., the hospital’s director of nursing.
“I don’t know if we’re in a blessed area or what,” DeLellis said.
On any given day, 12 to 15 of the hospital’s 25 beds are occupied by patients, she said. The flu outbreak has not sent patients flocking to those beds, she said.
“The numbers just haven’t gone up on a sustained basis,” DeLellis said. “The severity of the flu is just not there.”
Still, patients who visit the emergency room have increased, she said.
“We usually average about 25 to 30 people a day in the ER. That’s up to 30 or 40 a day now, but it’s a manageable number,” DeLellis said. “About 30 percent of those who are come in are there because of flulike symptoms.”
The hospital remains on heightened alert when it comes to the flu.
DeLellis said the Erie County Department of Health believes most cases of Type A influenza being treated at the hospital and at other regional facilities are the H1N1 virus, or the swine flu.
“Do we have swine flu in Corry? Oh, yes,” DeLellis said. “They are saying any Type A flu that we have is all the swine flu.”
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
To combat the spread of the flu inside the hospital, signs are posted at all entrances advising anyone with flulike symptoms to wear a mask. Masks are provided at entrances and other locations at the hospital.
DeLellis said the hospital has formed a flu team that meets every Monday at 11 a.m. to review the latest local and national numbers concerning the swine flu outbreak.
The team comprises hospital health officials and administrators who keep in touch with a health-care network that includes the county and state departments of health, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We talk about all points that apply,” DeLellis said. “We talk about our facility access, triage, admissions, bed availability and patient surge.”