Onslow Memorial Hospital runs out of rapid diagnostic flu test

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. Just over halfway into the flu season and all across the country more people continue to be diagnosed and even die due to the virus.

In North Carolina, the state now reports that 17 more people have died from the illness.

Doctors at Onslow Memorial Hospital say at their emergency department the flu has shown no signs of stopping or slowing down.

Because of that, they say they're now completely out of the rapid diagnostic flu test.

It's not just at Onslow Memorial where they are experiencing that shortage, CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern says they too are running low or are almost out of rapid flu diagnostic tests.

Dr. Kelly Klocek, the director of the emergency department at Onslow Memorial Hospital, says you don't need the test to determine if you have the virus and, instead, a clinical diagnosis can be done.

"We're going to do a clinical assessment and then we are going to determine if you can benefit from the anti-flu drug," Klocek says. "I will be very honest and tell you that the anti-flu drug doesn't have very many benefits to it in the low-risk populations."

That anti-flu drug is more commonly known as Tamiflu. Dr. Klocek says that drug is typically only given to those high-risk patients, the elderly, the very young, or those with a pre-existing condition.

In total, 165 people have died in our state due to the illness, so medical professionals say it's certainly nothing to be taken lightly.

Doctors recommend sanitizing around your home and even your cell phone once a day.

In addition to clinical diagnosis, both Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune say they're now using different forms of lab tests to diagnose the virus.