Palmetto Health sees spike in patients being treated for flu-rel - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Palmetto Health sees spike in patients being treated for flu-related symptoms

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A spokeswoman for Palmetto Health said Thursday there was a high patient volume for those who sought treatment for cold and flu symptoms.

"Today, Palmetto Health Richland, including its Emergency Department, experienced extremely high patient volume, as many of our community members sought treatment for cold and flu symptoms, as well as other medical conditions exacerbated by these illnesses," said Tammie Epps with Palmetto Health.

Palmetto Health's Emergency Department physicians and clinical staff evaluate all patients upon arrival and provide care to them as quickly as possible, with priority give to those whose illnesses are most acute, Epps said.

"Today, most patients in the Palmetto Health Richland Emergency Department received care in less than two hours after arrival," Epps said.

WIS received several phone calls from viewers who said that wasn't the case.

Some said they had to wait as long as five hours to be treated with some patrons even leaving to go somewhere else.

"The time a patient spends in the Emergency Department can be affected by many factors, including the number of patients with serious medical conditions needing treatment, and the availability of inpatient hospital beds for those who must be admitted," Epps said.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says the number of flu-related deaths in South Carolina is now up to seventeen since the flu season began at the end of September.

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