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Hospital Overrun By Flu Cases Having To Turn Them Away

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The flu continues to spread across north Texas. And, one hospital in North Texas wants people to make sure their flu is life-threatening before they take a trip to the emergency room.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center's emergency room is so overrun with flu cases that it is asking people with non-emergency symptoms to go to urgent care centers or see a primary care physician.

The hospital said in a statement last night that the reason for the move is so it can still take care of emergency patients such as trauma, stroke and those transferred by ambulance. It also said it "takes this very seriously because it wants to be able to treat anyone in need anytime."

Texas isn't the only place where flu cases are causing strain on hospital resources. In Southern California, emergency rooms whad gone into "diversion mode," during which ambulances are sent to other hospitals.

O.C. Global, one of Orange County's busiest hospitals, announced Thursday afternoon it would no longer be accepting ambulances at its emergency room, except for those transporting trauma patients.

"It's not just Orange County, it's all across the country," internist Dr. Ray Casciari with St. Joseph Hospital told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. "So, yes, this is going to be an epidemic year," Casciari warned.

Eleven people in Dallas County have died from the flu this season.

Last month, drug store chain Walgreens ranked Dallas-Fort Worth as the seventh hardest hit region in the country.

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