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Officials address local spike in number of people in emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 21:24:47-05

There have been 87 hospitalizations of people with flu-like symptoms in California, in Kern County there have been three. 

The Kern County Department of Public Health held a press conference Tuesday morning addressing concerns regarding both medication and the spike in people heading to emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms.

"That gives us a signal that the flu season is starting earlier and it's getting worse," said Denise Smith, the Director of Disease Control at the Kern County Public Health Department. 

As of Monday, Jan. 9th, 27 people have died in California due to the flu, no deaths have occurred in Kern County. 

The supply of anti-viral medications locally also pose a slight issue for the county. "There is a dwindling supply in the pharmacies but we've been assured by the state that the wholesalers there is not a diminishing supply," said Smith. 

Officials with the Kern County Department of Public Health are also working to continue tracking the number of people who could be suffering from the flu through various different places. 

"We have teamed up with every hospital in the county and every time a patient comes in to the emergency room we get that data real time. So, if you come in with influenza like symptoms that data then gets transmitted to us immediately," said the Matt Constantine, the Director of the Kern County Department of Public Health. 


The department also joined forces with several different school districts to keep track of the amount of students calling out sick because of flu-like symptoms. A spokesperson with the Kern County Department of Public Health explained that "over the past three influenza seasons, 130 schools from several school districts have participated in the School Influenza Absenteeism Program. 


The participating districts are listed below:

  • Bakersfield City School District
  • Edison School District
  • Greenfield Union School District
  • Kern High School District
  • Maple Elementary School District 
  • Maricopa Unified School District
  • Panama-Buena Vista Union School District 
  • Pond Union School District 
  • Rosedale Union School District 
  • Sierra Sands Unified School District
  • Southern Kern Unified School District
  • Tehachapi Unified School District

The public health department added that participation from the districts varies from year to year. 


Regardless, officials continue to stress the best way to react if you think you're having flu-like symptoms. "The best thing for people to do is stay home, and take over the counter medication, treat your symptoms, contact your physician," said Smith.