ATLANTA, GA (CBSMiami) — A 7-year-old Virginia boy is among the latest victims of the flu epidemic.
According to CDC projections, there have been 700 thousand flu related hospitalizations this season.
“He just loved everybody. He was a very loving kid,” said Samantha Baynes about her son Kevin who passed away from the virus.
They say the 7-year-old began feeling sick on Friday.
“He just wasn’t getting any better, so we took him to the Gretna ER,” said Samantha.
They say doctors in Gretna, Virginia diagnosed Kevin with the flu and strep throat and sent him home with antibiotics.
On Sunday morning, his family woke up and found him unresponsive.
“He wasn’t breathing,” said Kevin’s father.
A medical examiner is determining Kevin’s exact cause of death.
The flu would make it Virginia’s first pediatric death from the virus this year.
At least 19 states have reported at least one pediatric death related to the virus this season.
Children are just a fraction of the thousands of flu patients inundating hospitals nationwide.
Atlanta’s Grady hospital has seen as much as a 25 percent increase in overall emergency room visits so far this year.
Grady’s Chief of Emergency Medicine Doctor Hany Atallah said the hospital called on a mobile emergency department based nearly 250 miles away to help tackle the increasing patient demand.
“At 500 plus patients a day, you physically just need the space to put a patient in. This is going to help solve that,” said Dr. Atallah.
Carolinas healthcare system – which owns the mobile hospital – says they expect it will be stationed there for at least the next 30 days.
Later on Tuesday, doctors will start using it to treat a surge of flu patients flooding their emergency department.