The number of flu cases in Indiana County continues to climb, according to local health care specialists, and Indiana Regional Medical Center is preparing to offer free flu vaccinations at three locations Saturday.
The free flu shots will be administered from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at IRMC’s main campus at 835 Hospital Road, White Township; at IRMC at Chestnut Ridge, 25 Colony Drive, in Burrell Township; and at Beacon Ridge, 1515 Wayne Ave., White Township.
People going to the main hospital site should enter Private Dining Room 2 by the Women’s Imaging Center and cafeteria.
Appointments are not necessary and there is no charge for the 2,200 doses of flu vaccine provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. No proof of insurance is necessary.
Children over the age of 6 months and adults may receive the flu vaccine.
Anyone who is unable to visit the sites Saturday may call IRMC’s Institute for Healthy Living to schedule an appointment. And anyone with questions about the vaccine or the arrangements for shots Saturday may call (724) 357-8088.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as of Saturday there had been 114 confirmed flu cases so far this season in Indiana County, up from 28 confirmed cases as of Dec. 21.
“Monday we reported the most I’ve ever reported in 11 years” — 29 cases — said David McDevitt, IRMC’s infection control coordinator. “It’s still climbing.”
IRMC’s Urgicare centers also remain busy treating patients with flu symptoms including coughs and body aches that some patients said came on suddenly.
“Our numbers are still quite high,” said Dawn Landis, nurse manager at the two Urgicare centers in Indiana and near Blairsville. The Urgicare in Indiana is seeing about 50 patients daily, roughly double the number treated each day in non-flu season, she said.
According to the state Department of Health, as of Saturday there were 50 confirmed flu cases so far this season in Armstrong County, 187 in Cambria County, 68 in Clearfield County, 40 in Jefferson County and 276 in Westmoreland County.
The department also reported that there had been 14 influenza-related deaths in Pennsylvania as of Saturday.