Emergency rooms flooded with flu cases

Medical professionals at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. / Jessica Fairley

Flu season usually goes into high gear in January but doctors here in southwest Georgia say they're swamped with cases coming into the emergency room.

Phoebe medical professionals say they have seen more than 1000 patients in the last five days.

That's a 25 to 30 percent increase than their regular volume.

Wednesday alone 40 people tested positive for the influenza virus that causes the flu.

Doctors have treated people of all ages for the virus. Anyone who hasn't gotten vaccinated is urged to so.

"If people react to it early and say 'I need to go get my flu shot. I need to be preventative with this' we could nip this in the bud," says Dr. Joel Holcombe, with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, "As many people that we've seen in the last week that has been positive in our flu testing, it's a big worry whether we're going to have an even worse season or not."

Dr. Holcombe says he's never seen this many cases so early in the flu season.