Flu Update: Hospitals Preparing as Deaths Increase

Pharmacists and doctors are seeing an increase in the number of children with complications

CHARLOTTE, NC — Pharmacists and doctors are seeing an increase in the number of children coming in with serious flu complications in the Carolinas.

While there is not a shortage right now, some pharmacies are quickly selling out of Tamiflu as the potentially deadly virus spreads.

Novant Health says if flu cases continue to increase, area hospitals will have to take aggressive steps to control the virus like limit who comes to see patients and when.

In the past two weeks, flu season has peaked in North and South Carolina with the highest number of hospitalizations and deaths since Oct. 2016.

“By all means, we need for the babies, and we need for the seniors to be immunized,” said the Owner of Pike’s Pharmacy Jesse Pike, Jr.

Pike says the number of Tamiflu prescriptions are going up, and he must restock the flu-fighting drug almost daily.

“Primarily, what we have seen has been Tamiflu for the babies,” said Pike.

In other parts of town, Tamiflu can be hard to come by. Walgreens and Rite Aids in Charlotte have spotty supplies.

Some locations have zero and can’t get more until Monday. Others say they have plenty to last through the weekend.

“We just don’t know if it will get worse for a week or month or how much longer,” said Novant Health Dr. Charles Bregier.

Dr. Bregier points out that last week alone, three people died in South Carolina. One person died in North Carolina.

Since October, the flu has killed 22 in North Carolina and 16 in South Carolina.

To see the report, click here.

In Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, that number is seven.

In the Midlands of South Carolina, including York County, the flu killed eight people since Oct.

“We are seeing some complications for the flu. So, pneumonia, sinus infection,” said Dr. Bregier.

He predicts that next week Novant and other hospitals will limit visitation to protect vulnerable patients.

Pharmacists warn, even if you’re healthy, get the vaccine to keep the flu from spreading to your coworkers and family members who might be more vulnerable.