Cass Health Providers See Increase in Influenza Cases

November 23, 2022

ATLANTIC, IOWA – Cass Health officials are informing the public today that there has been a notable increase of influenza cases.

“Over the last three to four days, we have seen a substantial number of patients with upper respiratory illnesses and confirmed cases of influenza,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elaine Berry.

Symptoms & Treatment

Influenza symptoms usually come on very quickly and may include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches.

“For an average, healthy person with no other risk factors, it’s usually best to treat your symptoms at home with over-the-counter medications. Most individuals don’t necessarily need to be seen by a provider for a typical case of influenza. Whether you have the flu or COVID, the advice would be the same – lots of rest, fluids, manage symptoms, and stay away from others. Be smart and keep an eye on your symptoms worsening,” said Dr. Berry.

There are multiple factors that come into play as to whether a patient should be seen by a medical provider for influenza.

If a person has any shortness of breath or breathing difficulty, they should seek medical care right away.

Testing & Appointments

Testing for influenza, COVID-19, and RSV are all available at Cass Health.

“These illnesses all overlap in their symptoms. The good news is that it’s easy to test for COVID-19 at home and rule that out. If you have symptoms, and are unsure of what to do, our advice is to call and talk to your provider’s office. We can help you decide whether you may be able to just stay at home and isolate, or if it may be appropriate to do testing only, or if we’ll want you to come in and be evaluated prior to any testing,” said Dr. Berry.

Often patients who don’t feel that their symptoms warrant a visit to their provider’s office can schedule outpatient testing only, without being seen.

  • Patients with a Cass Health primary care provider should call 712-243-2850 and ask to speak with their provider’s office.
  • Patients who have been to Cass Health in the last five years, but do not have a primary care provider, can call 712-243-2850 and ask about outpatient influenza or COVID testing.
  • Patients who have never been treated at Cass Health, or it has been longer than five years, will need to make an appointment at Atlantic Medical Center or see a provider in AMC Rapid Care for testing.

For questions about the cost of testing, patients are encouraged to call the Patient Financial Services team at 712-250-8041. This team can provide an estimate of your out-of-pocket cost prior to receiving any service or to discuss any financial assistance needs.

Prevent the Flu & Stop the Spread

Flu vaccine is available at Atlantic Medical Center and local pharmacies, and there is still time for it to be effective this year. Vaccination helps to protect not just those who are vaccinated, but also babies under 6 months of age and others who are medically unable to receive the vaccine. Flu vaccination is still the best way to prevent or reduce the severity of flu illness and serious complications.

Everyone should practice good health habits: wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; cover coughs and sneezes; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hands; and avoid close contact with people that are sick.

People with the flu or flu-like symptoms should not go to work, school, or other public places, including visiting hospitals and nursing homes. People with the flu are generally contagious one day prior to showing symptoms through the next 5-7 days. Isolating during this peak stage of the virus helps to stop its spread through the community.