REGIONAL FLU SPIKE
HEALTH centres up and down the Valencia region have registered a rapidly increasing amount of patients suffering from flu this week.
Official sources said that late last week the illness was affecting 50 in 100,000 inhabitants, almost double the 26.4 mark that had been registered just the week before.
These same sources classified the spike as ‘normal’, and explained that possible reasons behind the surge include the sudden drop in temperatures and the fact that larger groups of people get together over the festive season, which makes it easier for the virus to spread.
The bad news is that the situation is expected to worsen over the next couple of weeks, and a similar mark to last year’s 300 in 100,000 maximum will likely be met – thus easily surpassing the 80 in 100,000 mark that officially turns an illness into an epidemic.
Hospitals such as those in Alicante city have had to open wards that were closed in order to meet the demand and offer a bed to those who need it.
On Sunday, Alicante General Hospital opened part of the seventh floor for the cause, and there were five patients – all with flu – admitted there the next day, with 25 more hospital beds ready and waiting if needed. Meanwhile, Sant Joan Hospital made the third-floor installations available after their emergency room was hav- ing trouble coping with the influx of patients with cold-related symptoms, with the staff having to tend to 300 patients over the weekend.
Nearby towns are having similar difficulties, with Elche’s General Hospital getting very close to its maximum capacity, and Elda’s Hospital General Universitario on Monday registering a higher influx of patients than in the previous 12 months and filling all 400 available beds.
More medical personnel was called in to alleviate the situation in Elda, and they will re- main on standby there and in other towns, ready to be called upon if the situation worsens. One-week waiting list for GPs Unions in Alicante were reporting waiting lists of up to one week for a GP appointment in Alicante city health centres due to the increase in flu cases.
The extra time required for new cases has also seen delays in consultations.
This week, patients were complaining after having to wait up to one hour after their scheduled appointment time to see their doctor.