Wilson N. Jones creating temporary flu treatment clinic in ER

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SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) -- Texas hospitals are experiencing a high volume of patients due to the seasonal flu. At Wilson N. Jones, they said about a third of their patients in the ER have flu-like symptoms.

"I've been a nurse here for 20 years and this is the worst flu season I've ever seen," WNJ nurse Amy Coffman said.

For the last two days, Wilson N. Jones staff said the wait time at the emergency room has been anywhere from four to eight hours.

"A lot of crowding due to the influx of patients that all came in with the same flu symptoms and you still have your other emergencies you need to see as well," Coffman said.

So to ease the crowding at the ER, Wilson N. Jones is trying something new. Nurse Amy Coffman is now helping transform a classroom and turning it into a temporary flu treatment clinic.

"Tylenol, the swab for flu or strep throat," Tonya Price said.

They will be doing all flu-related tests and treatment.

"Where we can take those flu patients and keep them separated from the other patients, hopefully control the spread of the virus and treat them faster and get them back home where they need to be," Coffman said.

WNJ Chief Nursing Officer Tonya Price said she's done this at other facilities before.

"So that they are quickly assessed, quickly triaged and then able to get back home where they are more comfortable," Price said.

To also help decrease the wait time in the ER, the Texas Hospital Association is encouraging patients with minor, flu-like symptoms to consult their doctors before coming in.

Price has one last piece of advice.

"Those that have gotten the flu shot, it's only lasted 24 to 48 hours, those that didn't, it's lasting seven to 10 days, so still get your flu shot," Price said.

The flu clinic will open at 10 a.m. Monday and you will still come into the same emergency room entrance.

If you need to come get checked out or tested for the flu but don't want to wait in the emergency room, you can schedule an appointment with WNJ by clicking on the related link.