A rise in a severe form of flu has left St. Charles Health Systems hospitals at capacity and having to keep some patients waiting in hallways for treatment, divert someto other locations and cancelsome elective surgeries, officials said Wednesday.A St. Charles Bend Emergency Department doctorsaid along with the flu, weather-related incidents, such as people falling off roofs or being hit by heavy ice, have the hospital packed with patients.Its become so busy this week, patients are waiting for treatment in hallways or the ER, instead of quiet rooms upstairs.The (flu) strain this year has kind of morphed into what we consider a more virulent or stronger kind of a strain. said Dr. William Reed, chief of emergency medicine at St. Charles Bend.People are a lot more ill than they typically would be, Reed said. They have oxygen requirements, so they cant go home. And they need oxygen, so theyve got to stay at the hospital.Reed noted its not just an issue in Bend or Central Oregonbut regionally, as many hospitals in the Portland area, as well as Washington and Idaho also are full.If you find yourself sick or injured, Reed asksyou to consider whether its a true emergency, or an urgent need.If not an emergency, the doctor suggestsyou call your primary care physicianor visit an urgent care clinic.
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