Clark, Champaign health officials urge precaution after flu deaths


Champaign County is investigating a possible flu-related death this month and three flu-related deaths have been confirmed in Clark County.

The number of flu-related hospitalizations in Clark County appears to be down, Clark County Combined Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

“But the number of (emergency department or urgent care) visits continues to climb, which is indicative of continued higher levels of flu in the community,” he said.

MORE: Clark County health district tips to avoid the flu

Clark County has reported 204 hospitalizations due to the flu since Oct. 1, Patterson said, and 842 visits to an emergency department or urgent care.

A spike in hospitalizations took place in December and January, according to the data, but has since fallen.

“One of the main points that the public needs to understand is that when they are ill, they need to stay home and they need to stay home and not return to work or school for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks and in many cases, an extra day or two is not a bad idea … It is important not only for their own good but that they don’t pass this on to others,” Patterson said.

Champaign County is investigating a possible flu-related death right now, Champaign County Health Commissioner Gabe Jones said.

RELATED: Champaign County investigating possible flu death

Marcella Portis, 59, of Urbana, died Feb. 1 and, according to her obituary, the flu might have been the cause.

The Champaign County coroner is investigating her death, Jones said. Portis’ death certificate currently lists her cause of death as pending, Jones said.

Portis was a nurse at Vancrest of Urbana, her obituary says, where she cared for residents for over 10 years. The Springfield News-Sun has reached out to the family for comment.

More than 8,600 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported statewide this flu season through Jan. 27, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Three flu-related deaths of children also have been reported in Ohio.

The flu is having a big impact on Champaign County, Jones said. According to health distinct statistics, more than 220 flu cases have been reported since October.

In the same span last year, he said Champaign County reported 166 cases.

RELATED: Flu widespread in Ohio, hospitalizations reported in Clark County

“It spiked early this year and it’s worse than expected,” Jones said. “If you are sick, take all precautions. Stay away from others and don’t go to work.”

Champaign County has recorded 39 hospitalizations due to the flu since October, Jones said. At the same time last year, he said, there were 11.

Taking precautions to prevent the flu is important, Jones said. Washing hands regularly and getting a flu shot is recommended, he said. And if a person gets sick and needs to see a doctor, that should happen quickly.

READ: Flu season to be worst in a decade

“Don’t hesitate and seek medical treatment,” Jones said.

Local pharmacists are working to keep up with the high demand for medication such as Tamiflu, said Ashley Sullivan, a pharmacist at Harding Road Pharmacy in Springfield.

“Last year we probably only filled a handful and now it’s a handful a day,” Sullivan said.

One of its suppliers had a backlog for Tamiflu, she said. But the pharmacy was able to get the prescription drug from a different supplier.

One of the reasons for the high demand is families getting Tamiflu prescriptions for the entire family when one member becomes sick, Sullivan said.

“They will treat the whole family with different doses,” Sullivan said.

The family member who’s sick will get a higher dose than a family member who hopes to prevent catching the virus, she said.

This flu season has been one of the worst in 10 years, said Joti Carson, owner of Carson Pharmacy in Northridge.

“It’s probably one of the biggest seasons I’ve seen since I’ve become a pharmacist,” she said.

EXTRA: What is the H3N2 flu and how bad is flu season this year?

Her store also has seen a high demand for Tamiflu.

“It’s very expensive and now that there is a shortage, the cost is going up,” Carson said.

A person without insurance could pay close to $200 for the prescription, she said. The drug is most effective when taken early, she said, so it’s important for someone sick to get it quickly.

“Preventing it is obviously better,” Carson said. “Lots of hand-washing and try to keep children away from busy and crowded places.”

Getting a flu shot is still a good idea, she said, and those who got vaccinated aren’t getting as sick.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Driver extricated, highway reopens after crash on SB I-75 
Driver extricated, highway reopens after crash on SB I-75 

UPDATE @ 3:40 a.m: All lanes on southbound I-75 have reopened following a crash early Wednesday morning. UPDATE @ 3:03 a.m: After nearly two hours, the driver of a vehicle that went off the road on southbound I-75 has been extricated from the vehicle. The interstate has been shut down for over an hour between Needmore Road and Wagner Ford Road...
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.” “Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire...
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: On, off rain showers through the day 
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: On, off rain showers through the day 

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Rain will start the day today with on and off showers lasting through the day, said Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell. Temperatures will be warmer in the morning but fall through the 50s into the 40s this afternoon. A quick break in the precipitation is expected this afternoon before another wave of...
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art

The weeping yaupon holly is beyond stunning right now. No, the weeping plant wasn’t nuked or genetically modified to obtain that graceful appearance. It was found naturally and native and then simply propagated vegetatively by cutting. Yaupons are native geographically in almost a third of North America. Botanically speaking they are Known as...
Proper name recorded, problem solved

This week a man contacted the Ombudsman Office seeking assistance in having his name correctly recorded with the various programs administered by the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services (MCDJFS). The man’s father is alive and well, and uses the suffix Sr. following his name. The man who contacted the Ombudsman bears his father&rsquo...
More Stories