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County sees drop in number of flu cases

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February tends to be the peak of flu season, but fewer patients have been admitted and treated at most local hospitals in recent weeks.

The number of patients with the flu has been either dropping or staying the same at local hospitals, officials said.

Statewide, the number of flu-related deaths has increased. The state department of health will not report any flu deaths in counties with between zero and five deaths and is not reporting any flu deaths for Johnson County.

Johnson Memorial Hospital also had a drop in flu cases in the past few weeks. The hospital treated 24 patients with the flu during the first two weeks of January, and 14 flu patients between Jan. 19 and Saturday, chief development officer Bill Oakes said.

At Community Hospital South, the hospital has had a total of four patients with confirmed flu cases admitted to the hospital for all of this flu season so far. That is significantly fewer flu cases compared to past years, spokeswoman Lynda de Widt said.

Hospitals are still being cautious and are asking people who want to visit patients to stay away, particularly if they’re not immediate family members and might have a cough or other symptoms.

Doing well

Statewide, Indiana has been hit hard by the flu, with 30 reported flu deaths. Locally, flu cases are decreasing:

6: Clark-Pleasant students with the flu

14, out of 77 flu tests given: Confirmed flu cases treated at Johnson Memorial Hospital since Jan. 19

4: Flu patients admitted to Community Hospital South this season

5 patients per day: Average flu admissions at Franciscan St. Francis for most of January

At Franciscan St. Francis Health, the hospital admitted an average of five patients with flu symptoms per day for most of January, spokesman Joe Stuteville said. That’s increased to 12 per day over the past week, which goes against the trend the other hospitals are reporting.

Schools and one of the county’s largest employers are not noticing an impact in people calling in sick due to the flu.

At KYB Americas, the number of employee absences have stayed normal, without any notable increases, human resources manager David Beatty said.

Nurses at Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant and Franklin schools haven’t seen many flu cases, either. Franklin Community Schools is tracking flu cases reported by parents for the first time this year so in the future the district will be able to compare year-over-year statistics, health services coordinator Beth Arkanoff said.

Clark-Pleasant had five confirmed elementary school students with the flu, and one intermediate school student with the flu, according to head nurse Debbie Johnson.

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