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Second person dies in Forsyth County from flu-related illness in 2018
Official: ‘This is just a really bad flu year’
Northside Hospital Forsyth Emergency Entrance
The emergency room at Northside Hospital in Cumming has reported a high number of patients coming in with flu symptoms. - photo by Jim Dean

Northside Hospital Forsyth officials have confirmed the second flu-related death within the county for the 2018 flu season.

According to Lynn Jackson, Northside Hospital Forsyth administrator, a 79-year-old man died recently at Northside Hospital Forsyth from a flu-related illness.

Jackson said that the hospital saw 555 positive influenza tests and 122 hospital admissions due to influenza in the month of January.

Northside Hospital Forsyth January 2018 numbers

122 hospitalizations due to influenza

2 influenza-associated deaths

555 positive influenza tests

Douglas Olson, medical director for the emergency department at Northside Hospital Forsyth, said that this flu season is the worst that he has seen since finishing his residency in 2002.

“Just from the Forsyth campus, we’ve seen minimum of 10 times the amount of flu this year than in the past, with a significant increase in the number of admissions as well,” he said.

He said that elderly and children continue to be the ones most at risk and affected by the flu season.

“This is just a really bad flu year,” he said.  “One issue is that we are dealing with multiple strains of flu, Influenza A and Influenza B.”

In a memo sent out to the district by director of transportation for Forsyth County Schools Mike Satterfield, he said more than 50 Forsyth County Schools bus drivers and monitors were reported as being sick on Thursday, leaving “district supervisors and some of our office staff” driving some bus routes.

Satterfield said in the memo that, “My staff is reporting this is the most we’ve had out on one day since they’ve worked here.” 

“I don’t think we are anywhere close to the light at the end of the tunnel,” Olson said. “Usually it starts to peter out in March to April, but I think we are still in the height of it right now.

Olson said that the best way of preventing flu from spreading is staying home if you have symptoms; He said that anyone in the elevated risk groups should seek a doctor’s attention as soon as possible.

He said that hygiene basics like handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your face, can also reduce your risk.

On Jan. 15, 2018, a 64-year-old man from Forsyth County was confirmed to have died from flu-related complications by Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald.