ORLANDO, Fla. – Urgent care centers in Central Florida are extending hours because of the ongoing flu epidemic.
Nemours Children's Urgent Care announced Tuesday that its locations in Lake Nona, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Sanford and Waterford Lakes are now opening earlier.
Locations in Kissimmee and Waterford Lakes are now open from noon until 10 p.m. daily.
The Lake Nona location is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends.
The Melbourne and Sanford locations are open from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. every weekday and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends.
Doctors say they have seen a spike for the last four weeks and expect it to continue for the next several weeks.
More than 50 children have died from the flu this season, which began in October.
Worst season in years
This year's flu season is rivaling the worst in recent years, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Overall, the data showed 17,024 new laboratory-confirmed cases of illness during the week ending January 27, bringing the season total to 126,117. These numbers do not include all the people who have had the flu, as many do not see a doctor when sick.
The CDC has received reports of antiviral drug shortages in some places, Schuchat said. "However, the manufacturers say that there's product available. Pharmacists may want to increase supply on their shelves, and patients may have to call more than one pharmacy to fill their prescription."
US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in statement Thursday that some antivirals as well as flu tests are in short supply. "However, at this time, there is no nationwide shortage of these products," Gottlieb said.
Flu vaccines also have been reported in short supply, but they are still available, Gottlieb said. "I strongly encourage anyone who hasn't had a flu shot to get one and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to promptly consult with their health care provider about appropriate treatment options."