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Chippewa County Sees Increase In Flu Illnesses, Hospital Restricts Visitors

"We haven’t seen it this bad in many years," family practice physician Dr. Tim Tetzlaff said. 

A spike in flu cases in Sault Ste. Marie has led this hospital to restrict some visitors.

The hospital says they’ve had more than 100 cases of influenza and a common child respiratory illness.

War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie isn’t allowing anyone who’s sick or under the age of 14 to visit patients.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Erin Malone have more on the seriousness of these hospital restrictions.

"It’s pretty significant illness," Dr. Tetzlaff said. Fever, 102-103 degrees, severe body aches, muscle pain, weakness, cough." 

Over 100 cases of flu-like illnesses led the War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie to restrict patient visitors.

The emergency room has been just bombarded with patients and then a fraction of those, a percent of those, need to be admitted to the hospital," Dr. Tetzlaff said. 

Several young children have come in with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, some cases serious enough to transport them to Grand Rapids for treatment.

"They can’t maintain oxygen levels so they need supplemental oxygen and IV fluids," Dr. Tetzlaff said.

The hospital set age restrictions and isn’t allowing anyone sick to visit patients.

"People, you know, have different immunities and you don’t want them getting sick," War Memorial Hospital infection control coordinator Mitch Zaborowski said. "Everybody congregates here because this is where we cure people."

Doctors say hand washing and medicine like Tamiflu can help prevent you from getting sick.

If you are sick and don’t need medical treatment, stay home.

"It’s best not to go to the work place and expose others and best not to take the children to the daycare or school," Dr. Tetzlaff said. 

Doctors also say it’s not too late to get a flu shot.