FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 19, 2018
CONTACT Neely Tsoodle
P.O. Box 580
Okmulgee, OK 74447
OKMULGEE, Okla.— The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health is seeing the largest number of flu and flu like sicknesses than it ever has in recent memory. MCN DOH officials say it’s worse than the swine flu.
Since October 2017, DOH has treated more than 200 cases, 77 of them treated at the MCN Medical Center in Okmulgee, Okla., many of the cases stem from a recent outbreak in neighboring community of Morris, east of Okmulgee.
Morris High School Principal Bucky Ewton said the number of students absent because of flu like symptoms increased daily. As of Tuesday, January 16, more 30 percent of the student body was out ‘sick.’ That averages around 330 students suffering from the illness in the tiny school district.
Ewton said the illness spread so fast they had to shut down the schools until Monday. Ewton said this would allow ample time to disinfect, heal and stop the spread of the virus. Students will be allowed back to school on Monday.
Dr. Billy Beets, DOH Chief Medical Officer said his staff treated much of the overflow of this outbreak. Beets said they are treating both Type A and B influenza. Flu Type B is the less severe of the two types. Unfortunately, the number of Type A cases has increased, Type A having more harmful effects.
DOH has transported several flu and flu like cases to Tulsa for more intense care.
Because of its severity, MCN DOH has taken precautions of its own. Employees in the clinics and hospitals who have direct patient care are being mandated to wear masks. Patients in the emergency room and waiting rooms are also required to wear masks as a precautionary measure.
Beets said DOH is doing all it can to treat and prevent the devastating illness. He reminds folks to disinfect, wash hands routinely and if you haven’t been vaccinated, it is never too late.