PeaceHealth
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News Releases
PeaceHealth advises flu patients to seek best care option - 01/17/18

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is experiencing high volumes of patients seeking emergency care for influenza-like symptoms, resulting in increased E.R. wait times and reduced availability of inpatient hospital rooms.

People planning a trip to the emergency room should consider the potential benefits of visiting an urgent care center instead, where wait times can be shorter and costs may be lower. Urgent care centers are equipped to treat flu patients with the same level of care they would receive in an emergency room setting. PeaceHealth offers urgent care at 3400 Main Street in Vancouver Mon-Fri 7am-10pm, and Sat-Sun 7am-8pm.

"The majority of people battling flu can treat themselves successfully at home, without seeking medical attention," said PeaceHealth Southwest hospitalist Dr. Stephen Kormanyos. "Get plenty of rest, stay well hydrated, and give your body a chance to fight off the virus. People should seek medical attention if they develop breathing difficulty, a persistent high fever, or if they cannot keep fluids down."

Although flu cases began spiking in Clark County in December, it is still not too late to get a flu shot. Flu season can continue well into spring, and a flu shot today can provide several months of protection. For added safety, people should wash their hands frequently, especially after coming into contact with high-touch objects such as doors handles, ATM machines, and gas pumps.

For more information about the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at www.peacehealth.org.

Flu cases surge at PeaceHealth Southwest - 01/09/18

The number of confirmed cases of influenza has spiked significantly at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in the past two weeks, mirroring the trend in our community. On Monday January 8, the hospital's emergency department recorded a 15% increase in emergency visits, due mainly to patients reporting influenza-like symptoms. The hospital brought in additional staff to help provide care for the surge in emergency patients.

"Patients who come to our hospital with flu-like symptoms are tested with a nasal swab," said PeaceHealth Southwest Infection Preventionist Heidi Lancaster-Rice. "In the past week we have seen the daily number of confirmed cases of influenza in our hospital jump to nearly 50. That's about what we commonly see at the peak of a typical flu season." Lancaster-Rice says Clark County's influenza rate is far higher than both state and national levels. "The percentage of positive flu results in Washington is about 14%, and about 15% nationally. Clark County is at 36%. We are extremely high in our little community."

Patients treated at PeaceHealth Southwest for flu-like symptoms are placed in "droplet isolation" rooms, helping limit the potential spread of flu virus in the hospital. At this time, 50 PeaceHealth Southwest patients are in droplet isolation protocol, which also directs caregivers to wear a mask and gloves when dealing with droplet isolation patients, and to follow strict hand hygiene guidelines.

Dr. Stephen Kormanyos, Medicine Department Chair at PeaceHealth Southwest, says many people who contract influenza can treat themselves safely and successfully at home with rest and plenty of liquids. However, patients experiencing certain symptoms should seek emergency medical attention. "Anyone who is struggling with breathing, persistent high fever, fatigue, dizziness, or not able to keep food or fluids down should seek medical care," said Kormanyos. "We have medications that can reduce the duration of flu symptoms if delivered early enough."

In addition to hospital emergency departments, patients in need of medical attention should also consider the advantages of visiting urgent care centers, where wait times may be shorter and the cost of care may be lower.

"With flu season shifting into high gear, it's critically important that we each do all we can to protect ourselves," said PeaceHealth Infection Preventionist Disha Sampat. "First, get a flu shot. You may hear rumors that this year's flu shot is a not a good match with this year's virus, but do not let that stop you from taking action to protect yourself. It's simply too early in the flu season for the CDC to be able to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine. Get a flu shot, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and be extra vigilant around high-touch surfaces such as door handles, telephones, gas pumps. Those surfaces can act as hosts for the influenza virus for hours after contamination."

PeaceHealth's infection prevention team says we can all play a part in reducing the spread of flu. "Be conscientious," said Lancaster-Rice. "If you have a cough or sneeze, use the sleeve of your elbow rather than your hand. Use hand sanitizer generously, and be mindful of exposing your colleagues at work. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home until the symptoms have cleared."

For more information about flu, visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5100/420-100-FLuUpdate.pdf

About PeaceHealth Southwest
The region's health care leader and steward for 155 years, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is a community-owned, not-for-profit, 450-bed, medical institution located in Vancouver, Washington. Repeatedly recognized nationally as a 100 Top Hospital, PeaceHealth Southwest provides a full range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical, and surgical services to Clark County residents. PeaceHealth Southwest is also one of Clark County's largest employers with 3,400 employees and 600 active medical staff members that help support dozens of medical specialty services and programs, including cancer, heart, emergency, trauma, neuro-musculoskeletal, family birth, and primary care. For more information visit http://www.peacehealth.org/southwest.

PeaceHealth St. John's Most Popular Baby Names of 2017 - 01/02/18

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center's Birth Center team assisted in delivering many new babies in 2017. Local families selected a variety of names for their babies, including some old favorites and popular new choices. For boys, the most popular name in 2017 was Jaxon (also spelled Jackson and Jaxson) which has been a top-5 most popular name in Cowlitz County for several years.

BOYS
1. Jaxon
2. Oliver
3. Grayson
4. Ryder
5. Wyatt
6. Michael
7. Brayden
8. Declan
9. Jacob
10. Jace

The most popular girls' name at PeaceHealth St. John in 2017 was Sophia.

GIRLS
1. Sophia
2. Addison
3. Evalyn
4. Isabella
5. Natalie
6. Scarlett
7. Charlotts
8. Adelynn
9. Layla
10. Madison

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center's elegant Birth Center offers 12 spacious private suites, along with the very best care from our outstanding Birth Center team. For more information contact our Birth Center staff at (360) 636-4853.

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center is a community-owned, not-for-profit, 193-bed acute care hospital and Level III trauma center located in Longview, Washington. Recognized nationally as a Top 100 Hospital, PeaceHealth St. John provides a full range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical, and surgical services. The region's health care leader for more than 70 years, PeaceHealth St. John is one of nine medical centers in the PeaceHealth System.

PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a multi-specialty medical group practice with more than 800 physicians and providers, a comprehensive laboratory system, and nine medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of its founding Sisters and continues to serve communities when invited to do so with a spirit of collaboration and stewardship. This is The Spirit of Healing--The Spirit of PeaceHealth.
Visit us at www.peacehealth.org.