This year’s flu season has brought record-breaking numbers of patients to the region’s Emergency Departments, leading to extremely long wait times and — in some cases — having to divert patients to other facilities for care.
MultiCare and other area health officials encourage anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to consider alternative care options to the emergency department, unless there are also underlying health conditions. We offer numerous, convenient urgent care and walk-in clinics throughout the region that can take care of patients with the flu, as well as virtual care options.
Other options available include:
Flu season is upon us. Have you gotten your flu shot yet?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year for two reasons:
It's especially important that the following groups get vaccinated, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.
While flu activity usually peaks in January or February, flu cycles can be unpredictable. With this in mind, beginning December 15, daily wellness screening will be done for family and visitors entering our OB, Pediatric and High Risk Nursery areas (NICU, ICN, SCN). Family and visitors who have symptoms of illness will be asked not to visit. In the NICU, ICN, SCN, children under age 14 will be asked not to visit.
The most effective way to protect our most vulnerable patients is to limit the total number of visitors coming and going from the unit and to ensure that these individuals are free of symptoms that could represent a communicable infection.
In addition, if you have any of the following symptoms, please do not visit any of our patient care areas:
Young children are especially likely to get sick from the flu and other illnesses, and though it may take several days for them to show symptoms, they can easily pass the virus to others, including our most vulnerable patients.
Thank you for your assistance in keeping our patients, visitors and staff healthy and safe.
*Depending on the severity of the flu season, we may also implement additional screenings or visitor restrictions, to help protect our patients.
The CDC says only injectable flu shots should be used this season, as the nasal spray vaccine may not be effective. Learn more about what's new this flu season.
Flu shots are currently available:
*MultiCare Urgent Care, Indigo Urgent Care and MultiCare Express offer vaccines for patients 19 years and older.