Charlotte area hospitals offer virtual visits to prevent flu spread

The deadly flu epidemic is continuing to get worse, and Charlotte area hospitals are being forced to take extra precautions in order to keep vulnerable patients safe.

Presbyterian Medical Center officials told Channel 9 that they are being inundated with flu cases because of how contagious the flu has been this season.

[FLU RESOURCE GUIDE: What you need to know about the flu season]

Novant Health said staff had to quickly move a suspected flu patient to an exam room to avoid contaminating waiting rooms.

Caromont Regional Hospital in Gaston County plans to increase staff in its emergency department after it's seen a rise in the number of respiratory illnesses.

Carolinas Medical Center is offering virtual visits for flu patients.

"Virtual visits and the flu is a perfect match," Deputy Chief Physician Executive, Scott Rissmiller, said. "Allow them to get help at home and not expose others."

Patients can talk with a doctor by video or phone call and get medication.

The flu outbreak is also putting a strain on pharmacies across the country. Pharmacists at Pike's Pharmacy in Charlotte said they’re struggling to keep up with orders for medication.

Across the country, nearly 3,000 people have died from influenza or pneumonia this flu season.

In North Carolina, officials released a report Thursday showing there were 21 new flu deaths in the past week, bringing the total number to 67.

South Carolina health officials said there were 17 new deaths, for a total of 46 this flu season.

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