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Flu patients cause backlog in Twin Cities emergency rooms

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Flu season is causing gridlock in Twin Cities emergency rooms this weekend – but not everybody needs to be there.

The Star Tribune reports that hospitals in the east Metro area closed their emergency rooms this week following an aggressive start to this flu season.

But the newspaper notes that some flu sufferers are heading to ER as a precaution because they've read about news reports of a harsh flu season, even though they are at low risk for complications.

Regions Hospital took 29 flu-like cases on Thursday alone and Children's Hospital in St. Paul reported a record 215 patients on Sunday, driven by a surge in flu patients.

That said, there have been a number of patients admitted because they are suffering complications such as breathing problems, which the Tribune says is causing the system to be backed up.

KARE 11 reports that 185 Minnesotans have been hospitalized so far this season,

Two people in Minnesota have died as a result of complications from flu in recent – an infant and teenager Shannon Zwanziger.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester has also said it's been a busy start to the season, with the Rochester Post Bulletin reporting that some classrooms have been "half empty" because of students coming down with the flu.

The CDC has said that this flu season has the potential to be worse than usual because the strain of the virus that appears to be the most dominant so far, the H3N2 strain, tends to result in more severe illnesses.

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