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Record Number Of Flu Patients Visit Parkland

DALLAS (CBS11) - Jesus Navarrete took a deep breath, then exhaled.

In Spanish, Dr. Carmen Wilson instructed the 10-year-old Dallas fifth grader to try again, while his parents monitored his medical exam.

"He's got a cough, but I don't think it's the flu," Dr. Wilson said while wrapping up the exam.

Navarrete would be one of more than 100 people seeking medical treatment Wednesday inside Parkland's Hatcher Station Health Center in South Dallas.

The health center is one of 12 established throughout Dallas County for resident access to medical care.

This month, the medical care garnering public demand is treatment for possible flu infection. "We are seeing a tremendous increase number of patients, double what we see by this time of the year," said Dr. Joseph Chang, Associate Medical Chief for Parkland.

A record-breaking 930 people visited Parkland's Emergency Department Monday, forcing the medical center to erect a medical tent, turn waiting areas into exam rooms and deploy a medical mobile unit to the ER area.

"We've had over 1,500 positive flu cases and 400 people admitted to the hospital for the flu," said Dr. Chang.

Parkland is urging area residents to access the community clinics, instead of inundating the hospital's emergency department.

"We have community clinics as far west as Grand Prairie, and as Far East as Garland. I would tell everyone with symptoms, do not hesitate because of a perceived lack of funds. Please come see us. We will do everything we can to help you," Dr. Chang said.

Dr. Chang added that 5,000 flu shots have been provided in Dallas County since October, and the health clinics will administer more to those in need. "What we're telling people of Dallas County is this, Parkland has always been here to serve. We are proud to take care of the under served, under insured and uninsured. If you need to come, we will take care of you."

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