Media General News Service
Published: October 24, 2009
State health officials say that the H1N1 flu may be peaking in Virginia and could now start to decline.
Swine flu vaccine continues in short supply, emergency rooms are being flooded with sick and worried people, hospitals are restricting visitation, and school absenteeism is running well above normal in the state.
The proportion of visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers attributed to suspected influenza reached 14.2 percent in Virginia this week, the state health commissioner said, a record high rate and double that of the last two flu seasons.
“We’re hoping that we may be approaching the top of the curve,” Dr. Karen Remley said Friday during a media teleconference.
After reaching 14 percent to 15 percent of emergency care visits, officials said, the potentially deadly H1N1 virus’s impact appears to be abating in states that saw an earlier onset of the disease than Virginia did.
“We have a peak now,” Remley cautioned. “We don’t know how many peaks there may be.”