Emergency room visits to County-USC Medical Center are up 25 percent in recent days compared to the same time last year, a hospital official confirmed to LA Weekly today. Many patients are complaining of H1N1-flu-like symptoms, but the official did not know if they were solely to blame for the uptick.

Yesterday we told you about 10 percent increases in flu-inspired visits to three Providence hospitals (Holy Cross, Saint Joseph and Tarzana) versus last year. The wave of patients promoted Providence Holy Cross Medical Center infection preventionist Marirose Medina to declare that there is a “Valley-wide outbreak” of H1N1.

Rosa Saca, County-USC's interim director of public relations, said that hospital was under a similar patient assualt: “We're experiencing the same volume of patients as other ERs,” she said. But she declined to base the influx on swine flu or characterize the increase as an outbreak.

Saca confirmed that a line formed out the door for patients waiting to be seen at County-USC's emergency room yesterday and perhaps even this morning (we mentioned that news footage showed as much). But she said, “It's a busy ER. I don't know that it's unusual.”

County supervisor Gloria Molina has proposed expanding the number of beds at the County-USC so that lines don't form and patients don't have long waits in the kinds of times of medical need demonstrated by the onslaught of H1N1 patients.

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