How Nebraska hospitals are preparing for increased flu cases this winter

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – High influenza numbers early this season are prompting hospitals to take precautionary measures.

Bryan Health and CHI Health are focusing their efforts on keeping ER visits and hospital stays quick and efficient.

“It just becomes part of our normal routine,” said Dr. Larry Krebsbach, manager of infection prevention at Bryan Medical Center. “We’re used to taking care of isolation patients, so it kind of falls within that same philosophy.”

Hospitals are saying one positive thing has come from COVID-19: They’re more prepared than ever.

Officials said they’re confident that they can handle the high influx of influenza cases that are expected to hit this winter.

Still, to be safe, Dr. Jason Kruger, chief medical officer at CHI Health St. Elizabeth, said the hospital has made extra beds available and is encouraging vaccinations.

“We are expanding our in-patient capacity to handle this,” he said. “So things are stressed but not overwhelmed at this point.”

CHI Health Clinic’s Dr. Michael Schooff said the clinic’s main focus is quality patient care.

“We’re concerned to the level of, how long do people need to wait in the emergency room or wait to see their physician?” Schooff said. “Because there’s a lot of people that are getting sick. Are people avoiding the care that they need because of some of those volumes?”

Another step CHI is taking is requiring their staff to get their flu vaccines to keep themselves and the community safe.

Krebsbach has some tips for people who think they may have symptoms of illness.

“Make sure you get tested,” he said. “And if you’re positive for influenza or if you’re positive for COVID, there are very good antivirals available that you can take that will be a great advantage to keep people from getting really severe symptoms with this.”

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