Influenza patients disturb hospitals’ normal operations

Hospitals on Okinawa that accept emergency patients have trouble meeting the needs of their regular medical services during holidays and nights because of a sharp increase of outpatients suffering from influenza visiting their emergency rooms.

For instance, the Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital in Uruma City is handling about two times the usual number of outpatients with suspected influenza on weekends and holidays compared to weekdays, reaching about 200 people per day. Because of that, the hospital reports that is has run out of beds since the beginning of the year.  Hospital officials say they have had to postpone scheduled operations and admissions for tests, or even needed to ask inpatients to leave early.

The number of influenza patients is the second highest in a decade in Okinawa.  In Chubu Hospital, the total number of influenza patients who had to stay in the hospital has reached 62 people since last October as of Jan. 21st, which is the highest number in six years.

Chubu Hospital officials and the prefectural government are asking public for understanding and cooperation, requesting that patients with common symptoms of influenza go to see primary care doctors during daytime hours instead of coming to the emergency room.