|Updated: 1/14 2:35 pm
||Published: 1/13 6:57 pm
The flu is reaching epidemic levels in the United States. In Arkansas, the Department of Health reports 7 deaths this season due to the virus.
The widespread threat has Good Shepherd Nursing & Rehabilitation on lockdown to protect its elderly residents. There is a sign on the door informing visitors of the quarantine. Good Shepherd Nursing and Rehabilitation says it's to protect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems from getting sick.
Becky Gorrell's mother has lived at the facility for 6 years. She got a call from the director of nursing about the quarantine. "I was scared at first. Really, really scared." Gorrell's mother, Mary Ivy, doesn't have flu, and neither does Becky, but no one is allowed to visit for the next 5 days. "The director of nursing called and said 'I'm quarantining the whole facility and just wanted to let you know that it's not an emergency related to your mother, but to the benefit if all the residents.'"
Good Shepherd residents all got flu shots this year, but one person still came down with the virus. Gorrell says the director of nursing told her Tami-flu is being administered to everyone as a precaution. Gorrell says she's happy Good Shepherd is taking this flu outbreak seriously and the facility is putting the health and safety of the residents first.
The Centers for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health are reporting hospitals all over are seeing a spike in flu cases. Doctors say they're treating 4 to 5 times as many cases, and it's the worst flu season in 10 years.
While Gorrell says she's going to miss visiting her mother at Good Shepherd the next few days, she says if the quarantine can save someone's life then it's worth it. "They are really trying to take care of their residents and prevent this from spreading." Gorrell says the director of nursing told her any staff members who feel sick are being sent home immediately.
So far there have been no other reports of any other nursing homes in the area quarantined because of the flu.