KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho -- Officials at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene are trying to limit just how many people are coming in and out of the hospital each day.
Officials said the numbers of patients they are treating is very close to capacity. The ICU is just about full and the regular hospital floors are well over 90 percent full. Hospital officials said flu season is partly to blame.
Administrators at Kootenai Health are telling people to stay home if they have flu symptoms.
The hospital also wants to limit patient exposure to the flu. There was already one reported flu death in North Idaho in 2014 in January. Hospital officials said the particular 2014 flu strain tends to make people sicker. They said if you have any symptoms like a sore throat or runny nose, do not come visit someone in the hospital, even if you are a family member.
"It is pretty clear that people underestimate the severity of the flu when it really hits them. And our concern is that we keep our patients as well as our community as safe as possible,” said Kootenai Health Chief Medical Officer Walt Fairfax.
The hospital said if you are a family member and do have the flu, it will make special arrangements to allow you to visit. They said it cannot take any chances for anyone else.
Officials encourage everyone else to constantly wash their hands and get a flu shot.