The influenza outbreak in Alabama has prompted Governor Kay Ivey to declare a state of emergency.
According to the governor's proclamation, healthcare facilities in the state are overwhelmed by the number of patients with the flu. The emergency declaration allows those facilities to implement "alternative standards of care" plans. The Alabama Department of Public Health says alternative standards of care allow medical personnel to streamline and simplify the support process.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the 2018 flu season is expected to be one of the worst in years. Widespread cases have been reported in 46 states, including Alabama. The Alabama Department of Public Health says the illness is "increasing."
The Mobile County Health Department reports the number of flu-related cases is double what it was this time last year.
According to WBRC in Birmingham, UAB Hospital has decided to reschedule non-urgent elective surgeries that require hospitalization in order to alleviate some overcrowding. Urgent and same-day surgeries are ongoing.
At Montgomery's Jackson Hospital, WSFA reports that officials are now banning people who have flu-like symptoms from visiting other patients at the hospital and their asking anyone who is sick not to come to the facility for visits with patients.
To make matters worse, some pharmacies are dealing with temporary shortages of flu medications, due to demand.
The CDC says you can help limit the spread of the flu by washing your hands often and disinfecting spots that are touched frequently.
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