Morning News-Lisa Lete
Rob Miller, pharmacist and owner of the Pharmacy Shop Express in Blackfoot, says that despite reported shortages in some areas, the popular drug Tamiflu is still available in Blackfoot.
While some area hospitals are restricting visitors due to extreme flu outbreaks, Bingham Memorial Hospital [BMH] in Blackfoot is bucking the trend so far.
Officials at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello announced on Tuesday that due to 21 confirmed cases of the flu (dominant H1N1 strain) already this month, that no one with the flu or flu-like symptoms will be allowed to visit patients in the hospital. These include cough, cold, congestion, fever, nausea or diarrhea.
BMH Public Relations director Paul Kotter said that while hospital officials are monitoring the flu situation closely, no restrictions in regards to visitors with the flu are in place at this time.
"We have not seen many extreme cases of the flu so far this year and we currently only have one person hospitalized because of the flu," he said. "If things change drastically, we may implement visitor restrictions."
Other areas of Bingham County are reporting light flu outbreaks as well. Marcia Rumsey, a nurse at Shelley Medical Clinic said, "We have seen very few cases of the flu in Shelley. I think people have gotten their flu shots and taken great precautions. I think that's really helped."
Health officials stress that even though a hospital/clinic has no set visitor restrictions in regards to the flu, "good common sense" should still be used when visiting the hospital. This includes things such as washing hands, wearing a mask when exhibiting flu-like symptoms or not coming to visit at all when you're sick.
Last year there were 35 flu-related deaths in Idaho.