SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Lane County Health and Human Services says 55 people showed flu-like symptoms, in which 19 required hospitalization, at a assisted living facility.
“Our biggest concern is making sure everybody’s safe,” said executive director Jessica Knox, Briarwood Assisted Living Facility.
The sanitation efforts are in high gear at the Briarwood Assisted Living Facility in Springfield after a major flu outbreak, the first in its seven year history.
“Our whole region has come together and donated people from different buildings,” said Knox.
“When we see this many people getting sick and seeking hospitalization, obviously we’re very concerned,” said Jason Davis, Lane County Public Health and Services representative.
The facility’s staff is also concerned, which is why extra gloves are available and Germ-X now fills the tables.
“We have canceled incoming and outgoing activities,” said Knox.
Residents are being encouraged to stay in their rooms. The residents with symptoms, including cough, runny nose and nasal congestion, are being asked to wear masks, when they come to the dining hall.
Davis says the last time Lane County experienced a specific outbreak like this was in 2009 and 2010 when H1N1 was spreading. The number of flu cases in Lane County has yet to peak.
“We’re always worried that when we have influenza in our community that it is going to spread to other people,” said Cindy Morgan, Lane County Public Health and Services’ Communicable Disease Supervisor.
“The good news is people can still get their flu shot,” said Davis.
In response to the outbreak Briarwood held its own clinic Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ve had one flu shot clinic already, at the end of October. And most of them got their flu shot at that point, so the staff is more of our focus,” said Knox.
The residents fall within the group that is most at risk for the flu and its hard to tell how the outbreak started, but the facility vows to do what it can to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
Briarwood says it looks like its over the hump of people coming down with the flu, new cases haven’t been reported in the last couple of days. Flu vaccines are also available at local medical clinics, pharmacies and the county health department.