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Swine flu: Worst-case outbreak could severely strain hospitals

Chicago Tribune, November 2, 2009

All 214 Illinois hospitals have been toiling since April to ready themselves in case the H1N1 virus sickens a large percentage of the population, the Chicago Tribune reports. To prepare for a possible rush at emergency rooms and clinics, hospitals are holding drills, refining emergency plans created after Sept. 11, 2001, and making sure they can tap into local, state and national stockpiles of medical provisions. Hospital administrators also have been studying reports from the winter flu season in the Southern Hemisphere from June to August. In Australia and New Zealand, H1N1 patients clogged emergency rooms and put nearly overwhelming demands on intensive care units.