Local hospitals see increase in flu patients after CDC declares "widespread activity" in SC

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WBTW) - Flu season is in full swing and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said South Carolina is seeing "widespread activity" in the last few weeks.

Flu season typically lasts from November to March and, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental, there have been 124 flu cases in Horry County thus far. McLeod Seacoast Hospital says it's seen an increase in flu patients… three people with the virus were hospitalized just last week. Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Charles said, "We've seen an increase in the flu since the beginning of the year. Horry County is on the high end of the scale according to South Carolina statistics."

According to S.C. DHEC, nine people across the state have died from the flu since November, one of them in the week after Christmas. There have been no flu-related deaths in Horry County, but three people have died of the flu in the Pee Dee. Dr. Charles said, "This particular strain is supposed to be a difficult one. This particular strain is more virulent, more contagious than typically." He ensured the hospital's staff is taking all the necessary precautions. "We've instituted a mandatory influenza vaccine for all of our employees and that includes vendors, people who make deliveries, that includes someone who may be a painting contractor, or a construction contractor."


Though McLeod Loris Seacoast has not officially restricted visitors from the hospital, it asks anyone with any symptoms or signs of illness to stay away. "If you've got a cold or a runny nose or running a little fever or feel achy, please don't come visit your loved on or your friend at the hospital," said Dr. Charles. He also stressed early treatment is crucial to containing the infection. "If I feel like someone has the flu, it's better to go ahead and start them on anti-viral medications even before I get the laboratory tests back," he said.


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