H1N1 fills local clinics - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

H1N1 fills local clinics

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Doctors offices in eastern Iowa have been swamped mostly with sick children.  Available H1N1 vaccines are being given to kids between 6 months and 5 years old.  Some clinics are separating their patients in waiting areas to keep the spread down.

Dr. Sharon Duclos is a busy woman these days.  Besides seeing patients at People's Community Health Clinic, she's also the co-director.  She says the clinic is seeing five times the number of patients it usually does this time of year.

"We're seeing just in urgent care, 100 patients in 8 hours. Normally it's 20 patients in 8 hours. The majority is children sick with H1N1," said Duclos.

So the clinic established separate waiting rooms for sick and well children. They're encouraging people to postpone routine checkups.  Doctors, nurses, and visitors are encouraged to wear masks.  It's not just patients who are sick.  The clinic has had to deal with staff members unable to come to work due to sickness.

"Our management staff is meeting sometimes twice a day to handle the staff that are gone. Sometimes you're pulling people out of a role they don't normally do to bring them into another role so we can see the volume that we're seeing," said Duclos.

And with more cases appearing now, it appears this flu season may be a very long one.

"This is just the first flu that we're seeing this season. The seasonal flu is not even here yet so we have to prepare for the next wave which will be in another month or two when you see the seasonal flu," said Duclos.

The clinic has a limited supply of H1N1 vaccines right now.  They're using those doses on children six months to four years old and children who may be most at-risk of deadly complications.

For more information, click here.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

Powered by Frankly