An outbreak of the influenza virus has prompted Gov. Kay Ivey to issue a “State Public Health Emergency” for the state of Alabama.
The virus poses a high threat of widespread exposure to an infectious agent that poses a risk of substantial harm to a large number of people, according to the proclamation issued by the office of Gov. Kay Ivey.
The proclamation gives health care facilities permission to provide care through emergency operation plans that adhere to “alternative standards of care” in response to the influenza outbreak.
Alabama hospitals have reached maximum capacity with patients with flu-like symptoms and other respiratory illnesses, and wait times have increased for non-emergency care, according to the flu alert advisory issued by the Baptist Health System.
Baptist Health in Montgomery is asking those with flu-like symptoms with no signs of serious illness to first see their medical doctor or an urgent care before coming to the emergency room. Alabama hospitals are also advising against anyone with flu-like symptoms visiting hospital patients.
The Alabama Department of Public Health’s weekly influenza Surveillance Map reports the fourth week of a flu outbreak that is increasing. While this is not a flu epidemic, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, it is a major seasonal flu situation.
The 2018 flu season is expected to be one of the worst in years with cases reported in 46 states.
To combat the flu, the ADPH is urging the public to follow the 10 “Fight the Flu” actions. These include:
- Get Vaccinated
- Wash Your Hands
- Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
- Stay Home With Fever
- Stockpile Supplies
- Clean and Disinfect
- Know Your Office Emergency Plan
- Learn Home Care
- Call Your Doctor if Symptoms Get Worse
- Stay Informed