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Monterey >> While area hospitals have seen a record number of patients recently with flu related illnesses, those numbers now look to be stabilizing.

That according to Monica Sciuto, a spokeswoman with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. On Monday she said the number of patients with flu like symptoms had dropped since last Tuesday when the hospital saw a record 234 patients, most of whom were treated in the hospital emergency room. Last year, the hospital average number of patient visitors hovered around 154.

were very busy through Saturday with escalated numbers over 200 visits per day with our mobile medical clinic in action set up through Sunday, said Sciuto. on Sunday we didn have to use it because numbers went down. same was true for Natividad Medical Center, which last week reported the first death in an adult patient with influenza A to the Monterey County Health Department.

have seen a slow down of flu over here, said Drew Massengill, an infection control nurse at the hospital. this point there is no real plan to put up any sort of tent outside. We actually at a very manageable flu level right now. Hospitals are required to report patients who are under the age of 65,
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test positive for the flu and are in the intensive care unit.

It was the middle of last week that Community Hospital implemented new restrictions on visitors requiring them to be 16 years or older because of the flu outbreak. Those with cold or flu symptoms were restricted from visiting at all.

The hospital joined Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, which on Dec. 29 temporarily implemented a change in its visitor policy, asking that only visitors 14 and older be allowed in patient care areas. Natividad Medical Center had also placed some restrictions on visitors with those under the age of 12 restricted from inpatient areas.

On Thursday, because of the increased number of patients, the Community Hospital set up medical tents in the hospital garage area to screen overflow patients and brought their mobile clinic to the hospital.

At the peak of patient visits, wait times were up to three to five hours for those with minor illnesses, noted Sciuto. Now, those times have dropped back to around an hour.

Besides record high numbers last Tuesday, the number of patients with the flu was also escalated around Christmas and through New Year From Dec. 24 to Dec. 30,
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385 tests were administered to patients exhibiting symptoms of the flu with 107 coming back positive for Influenza A and 73 positive for Influenza B.