Flu Has Firm Grip On Central Ohioans

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Many are ending up in the emergency room this winter with the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the flu is now “widespread” in 41 states.

“I’ve been at Grant (Medical Center) for 11 years, and this is probably the greatest number of cases of influenza I have seen any winter since I’ve been here,” said Paul Gabriel, director of the emergency department at Grant Medical Center.

Gabriel said that more people than ever are coming into the emergency room at Grant with flu-like symptoms.

He said that it appears preventative measures have not spared many from the flu this year.

“Even though we have a higher percentage of people who have taken the flu shot, we are seeing a lot of people who are coming in with symptoms,” Gabriel said. “A lot of them have had the flu shot, and they are still symptomatic.”

Health officials also said that the number of people being admitted to hospitals is up.

Columbus Public Health officials said that the number admitted so far this year is 10 times the number it would normally see this time of year.

Gabriel said that while some ER visitors at Grant had to be admitted, no one has passed away from complications brought on by the flu.

“The vast majority of people we see that we are able to treat in the emergency department get to feeling better and follow up with their primary care doctor,” Gabriel said.

Flu season typically peaks at the end of January or the beginning of February.

Health officials said the worst may not have been seen yet.