Flu season pushing Central Oregon hospitals to capacity

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Hospitals in Central Oregon have been pushed to capacity by a severe flu season.

The Bulletin newspaper reports all 349 beds in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville hospitals are occupied, and a third of all patients are being treated for the flu. New patients are being seen and treated in nontraditional areas, including waiting rooms.

Deschutes County Health Service epidemiologist Jennifer Faith says emergency room visits surged after Christmas. She says 18 county residents between 18 and 64 years old checked into emergency rooms the week before Christmas because of flu symptoms. The next week, the number increased to 89.

Flu season in Central Oregon traditionally does not peak until the end of January.