Mercy Flu Clinic Seeing Less Flu Cases, Will Phase Out Clinic And Reduce Hours

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Mercy Flu Clinic is reducing hours and phasing out services after doctors said they're seeing a drop in flu cases in the River Valley.

"I think we've seen a trend in less flu cases in the last... five or six days," Sean Baker, Department Chair of Primary Care said. "The demand from the public for this clinic has gone down."

Parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas are still in the top ten designated areas with flu activity, according to the Walgreens Flu Index.

Those with Mercy said they've recently seen a 10 percent decrease in positive tests for the flu.

The Flu Clinic is located near Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and behind Mercy Medical Tower at 2727 S. 74th Street. One of the reasons the clinic was opened was to reduce wait times in the emergency room and doctors' offices.

"There`s been so many other illnesses going around and we already have a lot of sick people in this area," Baker said. "I think it has definitely helped as I talked to my colleagues in the emergency department which is always busy. I think it has definitely taken a burden off of them, as well as our primary care doctors."

While there has been a decrease in flu cases in the area, health officials said there's still a chance that you can get sick, so be sure to take the necessary measures to stay healthy.

"The flu will continue in this area probably until April before it`s fully gone," Baker said. "We don`t see a lot cases, so I think good hand washing, good hygiene. If someone has flu-like symptoms, using a mask when you`re caring for them is very important to prevent you from getting the flu."

Doctors said it's not too late to get your flu shot.

The last day the clinic is expected to be open in Friday, Feb. 23.

Beginning Feb. 15, weekday hours will be 9 a.m. to noon through Friday, Feb. 23, the last day of the clinic.

It also will be open Saturday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be closed Sunday, Feb. 18.

To contact the Mercy Flu Clinic, call 573-3799.