Here is another article about things going on around Rochester.
It’s been a particularly active cold and flu season both nationwide and locally. At the beginning of the the season, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted the H3N2 virus would make this cold and flu season especially severe. They were right.
Last week, the Monroe County Health Department confirmed that there had been a total of seven flu-related deaths so far this season. At this time last year, there were none. Flu cases in Monroe County have nearly tripled this year to 2,500 cases in comparison to 909 cases last year. As such, local doctors’ offices and urgent care centers are busier than ever.
“The urgent care centers are breaking records with the number of patients we’re seeing every day and most of that is due to patients we’re seeing with the flu,” Dr. Carrie Colombo Rochester Immediate Care physician said.
Out of the three Rochester Immediate Care centers in the area, Colombo says the Greece location is experiencing the most traffic. On average, physicians see close to 100 patient in a single day. During the height of the flu season, that number has increased to 140.
“We’re doing the best we can. We know the emergency rooms and emergency centers are very busy because of the flu this year. We’re seeing patients as quickly as we can, staff beefed up for the extra people coming in,” Dr. Colombo said. Physicians are striving to treat patients within an hour.
Urgent care centers are known for their short wait times and affordable medical care. The typical emergency department visit costs an average of $1,500; while treatment at an urgent care center costs, on average, under $150. However, those experiencing flu-like who over the age of 65, have a weakened immune system or have underlying medical conditions are encouraged to seek emergency treatment.
Dr. John Treanor, Chief of Infectious Disease with URMC is not surprised by the severity of this flu season. “I don’t think these numbers are out of the normal range,” Dr. Treanor said.
However, Dr. Treanor said Monroe County is in the midst of what he feels is a true flu season, one that the country hasn’t experienced in years, due to the infamous H3N2 strain. “H3N2years are the years associated with increases in influenza related mortality and that is probably because these are the viruses that tend to arrest older people, where the risk is highest of complications of death,” Dr. Treanor said.