Flu persists in East Tennessee

Flu persists in East Tennessee

"We've been seeing about 60 to 70 flu cases per week since the beginning of February," Dr. Kristie Young says. "We've been seeing about 60 to 70 flu cases per week since the beginning of February," Dr. Kristie Young says.

6 News Anchor/Reporter

BLOUNT COUNTY (WATE) -- State health officials are seeing a decline in the number of flu cases. However, East Tennessee isn't seeing the same trend.

At the East Tennessee Medical Group in Blount County, the waiting room is still busy.

"We've been seeing about 60 to 70 flu cases per week since the beginning of February," Dr. Kristie Young reports.

Dr. Young says in just three hours Sunday morning, she had seven people test positive with the virus.

And she says she's seeing people of all ages who are sick, not just the young and elderly who are typically more vulnerable.

In addition, there are patients sick with what could be an unknown strain of the flu.

"We have been seeing less patients coming in with the flu, but the majority of the patients do have flu-like symptoms," Dr. Young says.

The doctor attributes the statewide decline to efforts of limiting exposure, such as closing schools.

At the medical group, they're passing out face masks to block the germs from spreading.

"We are having patients sanitize their hands and wear masks in the lobby," Dr. Young says. "But there is only so much to do to prevent it. So healthy individuals, unless you have to go to the doctor, don't."

Young is hoping these efforts will start paying off soon and East Tennessee will pick up on the state's trend of decline.

"We could be on the downward spiral of not having as many cases anymore."

Officials still warn, however, that flu season in Tennessee lingers into April and there could be another spike before it's over.

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