LAURINBURG — Flu-related illnesses are on the rise in Scotland County, according to officials with Scotland Memorial Hospital who have seen a surge of patients in the emergency room.
Scotland Health Care System officials are encouraging the public to avoid going to the emergency room with the flu or related illnesses.
Hospital spokesperson Stephanie Tatum said the hospital is asking those with flu symptoms to seek care at urgent care centers or primary care practices to help alleviate the high volume of patients at the emergency room.
“Scotland Health Care System implemented visitor restrictions earlier this year,” Tatum said in a statement. “These restrictions still remain in place.”
The restrictions include:
— Anyone who visits the hospital will be asked by registration personnel if they are experiencing “flu-like” symptoms. A “yes” response will trigger a request by the associate for the individual to wear a mask;
— No one under the age of 12 will be allowed to visit; and
— If visitors have experienced any flu-like illness, they must be symptom-free for 48 hours before they visit in the hospital.
“Scotland Health Care System does not want to discourage people from going to the emergency room with a life threatening illnesses or injuries,” Tatum said. “Residents should call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency room if they experience difficulty breathing, uncontrolled bleeding, stroke symptoms, chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, or loss of consciousness.”
Scotland officials have not said how many patients the local health care system has treated, but statewide there have been 22 flu-related deaths in North Carolina during the 2016-17 flu season, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services; and ;
There were a total of 49 flu-related deaths last flu season, with only five occurring in January and February.
Scotland Health Care System operates two urgent care centers and five primary care practices for those patient experiences non-life threatening illnesses; all which have same day access.
The two urgent care centers are Scotland Urgent Care Center in Laurinburg, which can be contacted at 910- 277-8300 and Marlboro Family Practice and Urgent Care in Bennettsville and can be contacted at 843-454-0245.
— Scotland Health Care system also offers five primary care practices;
— Harris Family Practice in Laurinburg. To contact, call 910-276-676.
— Wagram Family Practice in Wagram. To contact, call 910-369-313.
— Maxton family Practice in Maxton. To contact, call 910-844-4077.
— Pembroke Family Practice in Pembroke. To contact, call 910- 521-4462.
— Marlboro Family Practice and Urgent Care in Bennettsville. To contact, call 843-454-0245.