The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

January 9, 2013

Local hospitals cope with flu outbreak

MERCER COUNTY — If you had the flu, take some solace: You’re not alone.

All three of Mercer County’s hospital systems report a rise in the number of flu patients walking through their emergency doors. The increase mirrors a national trend with the number of flu cases rapidly increasing over the holidays. As people gathered together to celebrate, they ended up passing along the flu bug to friends and family.  

“We’re seeing a large influx coming into our emergency department with the flu,’’ said JoAnne Clobus, vice president of marketing and public relations for Grove City Medical Center in Pine Township.

But, she added, in the large majority of cases the hospital is treating symptoms and discharging the patients.

UPMC Horizon and UMPC Urgent Care at Hermitage have seen an increase in patient volume the last two weeks due to the flu, said Erin Palko, Horizon’s public relations manager. She added Horizon has seen confirmed cases of H3N2 flu strain.

Symptoms run the gamut of most flu strains – runny nose, sore throat, aching muscles, headache, cough, nasal congestion and fever.

“Symptoms do seem to be more severe this season according to the Urgent Care staff, and the hospital has flu patients in its critical care units,’’ Palko said.

Sharon Regional Health System also is experiencing an increase in flu patients both in its Emergency Care Center and in those being admitted  to the hospital, said Ed Newmeyer, Sharon Regional’s director of marketing and community relations.

“At this time, we are not restricting visitors, but are asking those who have a cough or flu symptoms to refrain from visiting individuals in the hospital,’’ Newmeyer said, echoing the concerns of the other hospital systems.

Sharon Regional staff working at entry points such as its emergency room, Diagnostic and Imaging Center, and other registration areas have been educated in recognizing flu symptoms, he added. Signs have been posted in those areas asking patients to notify staff if they are experiencing symptoms of the flu.

To prevent the spread of the flu, patients exhibiting flu symptoms are offered a kit containing a mask to wear, hand gel, tissues, and a brown bag. Patients are instructed on the use of the mask and hand gel and are asked to use the brown bag for disposal of soiled tissues. Additional alcohol hand gel has been added in a variety of locations to encourage use.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the ongoing flu season nationally is one of the worst in a decade – and the season hasn’t peaked. Further, the influenza is running five weeks ahead of typical yearly schedule, the CDCP said.

Another gauge of the spike in flu cases is that the number of people seeing their doctors for influenza-like illness is above the national baseline for the fourth consecutive week. The rate has grown sharply from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent over the past four weeks, said the health agency.

All medical providers agree: If you have flu-like symptoms it’s best to stay home, drink plenty of fluids and wash your hands frequently.


Text Only
Local News
  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo